MacNN is reporting that Apple has informed the creator of the free iPhone game “Tris” (which is a Tetris clone) that if he did not volentarily remove the game from the iTunes App Store that Apple would “take action” against him if he did not resolve a “dispute” against him made by The Tetris Company.
The creator, who is a college student, feels that The Tetris Company, how own a trademark to the game Tetris, are taking action that “seems to me little more than petty bullying.” Even though he does admit that they have a right to protect their intellectual property.
Tris will be removed from the App Store on Wed.
MacNN compares the incident to the recent NetShare removal – but I disagree. This is a dispute over intellectual property, whereas the NetShare issue was an issue of violating contracts with phone companies. That’s not the same thing at all in my book.
If there is a legitimate trademark infringement claim it needs to be settled in a court of law. If the creator of “Tris” isn’t interested in doing that, then I’m not sure I see a problem with it being removed. I understand that argument that “he’s a college student, he can’t afford a lawyer” – and I get that, but that’s the system that we have. I would imagine from his point of view its just not worth the hassle – and I would have to agree with that if I was in his situation.
He’s obviously very talented, because Tris is a good Tetris Clone. Hopefully he’ll use those mad programming skills to make an original game of some kind in the near future.
How is this any different from the excellent Macintosh desktop Tetris style application Quinn that Simon Hartel released a few years ago? The Tetris Company put the same pressure on him, but eventually relented after he began referring to his application as an â€œimplementation of a popular falling-blocks gameâ€ and noted on his site no affiliation with The Tetris Company. Maybe they feel that Tris is too close in name to Tetris. Noah should fight this or at least request clarification on what the problem is. The Tetris Company evidently has no copyright on the game itself, it is simply a naming issue.
Good thing he wasn’t charging money for it, or then he’d really be up the creek.
I think the name has everything to do with it. If this had been called Falling Blocks, or Blockr, or whatever, I don’t think it would have been as big of an issue. Tris is over half of the name Tetris – there’s just no way The Tetris Company is going to let that go.
Anyone think Apple is going to invoke their “remote removal” of applications this time? Tris made it to the top of the Top Free Apps list, and stayed there for a while, so plenty of people have it (including me!)
No, Apple has no reason to do that in this case. The “remote removal” is only for something that might get through with malicious software that could compromise users data or damage the device itself. It’s not something they are going to casually use over a free application.