A group of Reddit “gaymers” have lawyered up and filed a petition to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to protect the name of their online forum and allow all others to use the term without the fear of interference.
The Reddit r/gaymers are members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community who have an active interest in video games. They have been forced to take action after a website operator, Chris Vizzini, managed to take the term “gaymers” and register it as a trademark. He then sent the Redditors cease-and-desist letters. Blogger Vizzini registered “gaymers” as a trademark for the gaymer.org that was intended to appeal to the same community.
The Redditors feel that the trademark should never have been granted to Vizzini and law firm Perkins Coie is representing their fight pro bono. Their cause is also being supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
EFF’s Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry said:
“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.”
The petition that the Reddit gaymers sent to USPTO argues that the term “gaymer” has been widely used for many years and has been in circulation since the mid-1990s, long before Vizzini’s gaymer.org, which was set up in 2005 and trademarked in 2007.
EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels said:
“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.”