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.