A legal battle between a Reddit forum and a gay blogger has resulted in a trademark claim on the word “gaymer” being abandoned.
Blogger Chris Vizzini founded the website gaymer.org to represent LGBT individuals in the video game community and trademarked the word “gaymer” in 2008. Vizzini later sent a cease-and-desist letter to Reddit over its forum called “r/gaymers,” claiming the it violated his trademark.
With the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Perkins Coie, the Reddit gamers filed a petition to cancel the trademark in January. Vizzini filed a motion to dismiss the petition, but his motion was rejected. Vizzini gave up the fight in July, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark office officially revoked the trademark on Wednesday.
“Gaymer is a term that everyone can use – including Vizzini – and we’re pleased that there is no legal question about that now,” said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. “But the real tragedy is that this term was ever registered for a trademark in the first place. You shouldn’t have to go through a big legal battle to use a word you’ve used for years. The PTO must get more vigilant about the trademarks it allows to be registered in order to protect everyone’s free speech rights.”
In a statement on gaymer.org, Vizzini said he surrendered the trademark because he didn’t have the financial means to fight against the petition. He has also shut down his website.
“I had a couple of goals in mind when I began the site. One was to make change – make change for the word gaymer and gay gamers themselves. I wanted to give them someplace safe to come when they were called names. I wanted them to feel not so alone in the gaming world and feel unconditionally accepted. Another goal was to help people meet each other. They did. They became friends, boyfriends and, in one case, two people got married. I’m extremely proud of that.”
“Here it is 10 years later. The word gaymer has changed so much that people are willing to fight for it. I couldn’t ask for more if I’m going to lose the trademark. It wasn’t for nothing.”
“I come from the school of thought that, if create something and you put in the hours, the work, the money and your heart in it, that it belongs to you. I thought that’s part of what being an American was about. Especially if you played by the book and took all the right legal channels. What I found out in the end that it doesn’t matter what you do, if a big law firm powerful enough comes along and wants to take it, they will and there’s not much you can do about it.”
[Male gamer via Shutterstock]