Target: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Goal: Urge the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel bogus and malicious trademark claims against the LGBT gaming community
An active group of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered video game players who refer to themselves simply as ‘gaymers’ are being forced to defend the name of their online gaymer sub-forum on Reddit. A blogger named Chris Vizzini managed to register the term ‘gaymer’ as a trademark and subsequently sent the group a cease and desist letter on the grounds that their use of the term ‘gaymer’ infringed on his trademark rights.
Considering the term ‘gaymer’ has been in widespread use for many years, long before Vizzini trademarked it, Vizzini’s actions can be considered malicious at best and unconstitutional at worst. Julia Samuels, the Staff Attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which is helping the Gaymer Reddit group fight Vizzini’s trademark, sums it up rather nicely: “Trademarks have one primary purpose: to protect consumers from confusion about the source of goods or services. This registration isn’t being used to protect consumers—it’s being used to threaten free speech.”
EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry also expressed enthusiasm towards helping the Gaymer Reddit community: “This registration should never have been granted. 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.”
With the help of both the EFF and the Perkins Coie law firm, the Gaymer Reddit community submitted their own petition to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPO), asking them to cancel the ‘gaymer’ trademark filed by Vizzini. Help support their efforts by signing this petition and making sure Vizzini doesn’t get away with his malicious and hateful actions.
Dear U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,
I understand that the rights of the individual and the rights of the many are never easy to compare. However, I strongly urge you to give some serious consideration to the petition to cancel the ‘gaymer’ trademark that was filed by the Gaymer Reddit forum group with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the law firm Perkins Coie.
The unconstitutional trademarking of a widespread and long-used term by Chris Vizzini is nothing more than a malicious stunt and, quite frankly, should never have been allowed to pass in the first place. By signing this petition letter, I am saying that I hope you’ll consider the Gaymer group’s rights to free speech when voting on their petition to cancel the trademark.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bryan Ochalla via Flickr