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Reddit 'Gaymers' Fight to Protect Online Forum from Bogus Trademark Claims

January 23, 2013

Reddit 'Gaymers' Fight to Protect Online Forum from Bogus Trademark Claims

EFF and Perkins Coie File Petition to Cancel Registration of 'Gaymer' Trademark

San Francisco - A group of Reddit "gaymers" are fighting to protect the name of their online forum after a website operator managed to register the term as a trademark and then claimed the group's Reddit forum infringed his trademark rights. In a petition filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today, the group asks the USPTO to cancel the "gaymer" trademark registration so that people around the world can continue to use the word without interference.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the law firm Perkins Coie represent the Reddit gaymers – members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community who have an active interest in video games. The group was spurred into action after blogger Chris Vizzini – who registered the trademark after creating a website targeting the gaymer community at gaymer.org – sent a cease-and-desist letter complaining about the long-running subreddit group called r/gaymers.

"This registration should never have been granted," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. "Gaymer is a common term that refers to members of this vibrant gaming community, and we are happy to help them fight back and make sure the term goes back to the public domain where it belongs."

As today's petition notes, the term "gaymer" had been in widespread use for years before Vizzini applied for a trademark. In fact, there's even a GaymerCon conference.

"Trademarks have one primary purpose: to protect consumers from confusion about the source of goods or services," said EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels. "This registration isn't being used to protect consumers – it's being used to threaten free speech."

For the full petition to cancel:
https://www.eff.org/document/petition

For more from r/gaymers:
http://www.reddit.com/r/gaymers/comments/174ooy/update_rgaymers_is_fighting_back_the_trademark/

Contacts:

Corynne McSherry
   Intellectual Property Director
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   corynne@eff.org

Julie Samuels
   Staff Attorney
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   julie@eff.org

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