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Minecraft creator sent cease and desist over Putt-Putt user content

updated 09:43 pm EDT, Wed July 10, 2013

Putt-Putt trademark owner not distinguishing between Mojang and users

Minecraft developer Mojang has been hit with a cease-and-desist order by miniature golf franchise owner and trademark holder Putt-Putt over the use of the "Putt-Putt" name in YouTube videos generated by game players. Enclosed with the legal complaint are screenshots pulled from YouTube of Putt-Putt miniature golf content within the game generated by users not affiliated with the developer.

The complaint alleges that "Mojang AB's use of the Putt-Putt name has benefited Mojang AB to the detriment of Putt-Putt." The company demands that Mojang cease using the trademark in connection with Minecraft in all respects.

When reached for comment, Alex Chapman, attorney for Mojang, said that "I think there is clearly a misunderstanding here as to what Minecraft actually is. It's a game that, amongst other things, allows people to build things. Mojang doesn't control what users build, and Mojang doesn't control the content of the videos users make. Suing Mojang for what people do using Minecraft is like suing Microsoft for what people do using Word."

Mojang's business developer Daniel Kaplan told Eurogamer that "players are able to do amazing creative things in Minecraft in a similar fashion to artists doing whatever they want in Photoshop. It is up to the end users to play and create in a responsible manner."

At this time, Putt-Putt demands an affidavit from Mojang with "each and every person, agent and entity affiliated with Mojang AB" to cease using the trademark. If the affidavit is not received, which seems unlikely, then Putt-Putt reserves the right to seek damages of "a reasonably royalty" for Mojang's infringement.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. burger

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 09-13-00


  1. fizzy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-06-09

    We should make having lawyers on retainer illegal. If someone had to actually find, call, hire and pay one by the hour for nonsense like this, they'd certainly think about it a little more.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    Seems like it would be pretty easy to send them an affidavit that "each and every person, agent and entity affiliated with Mojang AB"--assuming that that means employees and subcontractors--is not using any Putt-putt trademark.

    Which would of course not have the slightest effect on the Youtube videos, and might make Putt-putt sad, but it would be fulfilling their request.

    Also, there should be an automatic legal penalty for stupid in this country. I suppose if Mojang had enough lawyers of their own on retainer, they could countersue for something inflated and ridiculous, but if it were automatic it would be a little easier for the little guys.

    Also, Minecraft players should boycott mini-golf, but I doubt there's much overlap in the demographics.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    It's funny, I tried to send a short email to Putt-Putt through their website letting them know that I wouldn't be taking my family to any of their franchises on account of their legal idiocy, but the message bounced off their spamwall. If a politely-worded letter telling them that they're losing business doesn't get through, one wonders if anything does.

    I doubt mini-golf franchises are particularly tech-savvy, so they probably don't care, but still, kind of ears-in-fingers.

  1. Paulrm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-01-01

    Well, actually about 40 years ago, Putt Putt sued Mattel over the name of the putt putt train they were selling. As I remember it, the settlement caused Mattel to fund the Professional Putters Association and sponsor some pretty big money putting tournaments for a few years.

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