August 5th, 2008, 00:03 Posted By: wraggster
GamePolitics recently posted a piece on Forbis, the makers of the weemote, and an issue that is all too familiar in Trademark law: trademark infringement. To summarize the GamePolitics piece, Forbis Technologies trademarked "weemote" in the year 2000 for a children's television remote. According to a Time piece on the weemote, sales have fallen considerably since the Nintendo Wii was released. The blog-o-sphere coined the term "Wiimote" soon after the Wii hardware was announced, and the term has stuck ever since. Nintendo, however, does not have a trademark on the term "wiimote," only on "wii."
Forbis is hoping to enter into a business arrangement by which it can re-brand its product and Nintendo can take control of "wiimote" and "weemote" (pronounced the same) because, as they put it, "the damage has been done here (whether intentional or not)." In fact, in cases of possible infringement between a significantly larger player and a smaller one such as this, a settlement of this nature would not be unusual. Even if Nintendo believes it would be successful in an infringement suit with Forbis, this may be the far cheaper option to resolve the issue. After all, the weemote brand had minimal value before the introduction of the Wiimote based on the company's self-described weak sales. Nintendo has thus far declined to purchase "weemote." But stopping at an out-of-court settlement wouldn't do much to illuminate the legal points that exist here, so let's take a look at this as if it were going to go to trial.
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