Official Forumwarz Blog

The official blog for the web game, Forumwarz

Trademark Trolls Should Mind Their Pwn Business

This morning I found out that Futuremark, a Finnish company famous for their software benchmarking products, have requested a trademark for the word Pwnage.

Seriously. The word Pwnage. A word that pulls 2 million results on Google, and the same one that we happen to make heavy use of in Forumwarz. (In the introduction for our game, we come up with our own mythology of the term, calling it the recently discovered fifth force of physics: “A force so strong that, when harnessed properly, can destroy a web forum from the inside out.”)

We’re far from the first people to make active use of this non-word. Pure Pwnage makes a hilarious mockumentary series on the concept. Urban Dictionary offers 37 definitions of the term (and surprisingly, only one definition of “inessential”). The Wikipedia page on Pwn lists many other occurrences around the web.

What makes a company decide that they will simply take a word or concept that has been active in the public for years and then trademark it as their own? (Or should I say, “pwn”?) Especially when they clearly have nothing to do with its origin! Benchmarking…headshots. Benchmarking…headshots. Not seeing the correlation, folks.

Look at the “domain” they listed for its use:

Computer game software for communication devices; computer game software and computer game programs enabling users to play games with mobile phones and personal digital assistants; computer software and programs enabling users to communication devices to simultaneously access databases and global computer networks; software enabling transfer of data between mobile communication apparatus; computer game software; computer game programs; computer game discs; interactive multimedia computer game program; downloadable ring tones, graphics and music via global computer network and wireless devices; cases for mobile phones; computer application software for mobile phones; multimedia software recorded on CD-ROM featuring fictional characters and computer games; pre-recorded DVD’s, video tapes, laser discs featuring movies about fictional characters, and pre-recorded compact discs featuring music; motion picture films on fictional characters

They might as well have written “every piece of media, real or imagined, under the sun.”

Forumwarz will often poke fun at trademark trolls in our game, tacking on a clearly false (TM) to the end of absurd terms like E-Peen, a quirk that I shamefully stole from Ron Gilbert’s writing. But I can promise you will we’d never actually try to trademark words that the public has been using for ages (in Internet time). After all, we’re standing on the shoulders of giants here. Obese, unhygienic, virginal, basement-dwelling giants, and we could never take credit for their awesome ideas. We try to pay homage to memes, not greedily attempt to ppwn them off as our pwn.

I guess, until now, I considered the word “pwnage” way too ridiculous to trademark. It just goes to show there’s no level some people won’t stoop to.

This is the new economy, I suppose. Just think: Your next typo could make someone else a milyunair!


Written by eviltrout

March 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM

Posted in Home, News

Tagged with

10 Responses

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  1. Sorry, I already trademarked milyunair. You’ll be hearing from my lawyers.


    March 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM

  2. that’s utter bullshit. they can’t trademark such a commonly used word. that’s like trademarking ‘teh’

    even then, what makes them deserve the TM? They just make benchmarking tools. Any producer of any popular shooting game is a better candidate for ownership.

    I’m sure they’ll be rejected.


    March 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM

  3. Lulz @ these idiots.


    March 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM

  4. From the application:
    "First Use Date: (DATE NOT AVAILABLE)
    First Use in Commerce Date: (DATE NOT AVAILABLE)"

    Yeah, that’ll get approved…


    March 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM

  5. What does it mean for Forumwarz if the patent goes through?


    March 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM

  6. lol

    What does it mean for the vast majority of forums dealing with first-person shooters – and all other competitive online games, in fact – if the patent goes through? It’ll be like someone just trademarked "www". Total chaos.


    March 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM

  7. Wow those assholes suck. "haha I Pwnd(tm Futuremark) you!"


    March 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM

  8. That is complete and utter bullshit, pwnage is a concept, it has a meaning, no fucking way they could trademark that word else they have to patent the concept of pwnage. Thats like asking to patent the concept of god, fucktards.


    March 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM

  9. Hurr hurr, you’re just jealous you didn’t think of trademarking the term first.

    Don’t worry, Trout. There’s still plenty you can do to catch up. You’ll have to start paying these Futuremark gentlemen royalties, but if you are quick about trademarking the term "forum" then you should more than make up for that loss.

    I’ll be reasonable about this, too: All I demand from you in exchange for this information is, say, 40% of the income your ForumWarz venture pulls in from this point forward. 40% of overall income, not profit.

    Naked Burrito

    March 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM

  10. What’s the big deal? It’s a trademark. It just means that only that company can use the word in product names, advertising and marketing, and only in the described scope (while broad, is not as broad as it looks). It also prevents others from using the name to misrepresent their product or service as the one offered by the TM holder.

    This doesn’t stop anyone from using the name except in those limited ways.

    I don’t hear anyone bitching and howling about the trademark on the word "Apple" for instance.


    March 3, 2008 at 4:23 PM

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