Chinese Trademark on translated title

Somehow, I missed this:

This is really beyond comprehension, illegal, and immoral. The idea that the de facto way that Chinese fans refer to the game (一小时人生), which I’m seeing machine translated as “One Hour Of Life”, which is damn close enough, is now trademarked in China…

Meaning that I am forbidden from using the most obvious translation of my own game’s title?

I hereby demand that you drop that trademark claim immediately.

As for the copyright, you are correct that you own the copyright for all modifications that you made, and all new code written. However, you do NOT own the copyright to your entire app, which includes my artwork, character designs, sounds, and music, all of my other data assets (including the text “code” that defines all the objects, their properties, animation parameters, etc), and the back-end which is running my server code, which has been modified by you, but not rewritten from scratch.

So, I’m hoping that your copyright registration spelled this out, instead of doing the obvious thing and laying claim to the entire thing. Please post a link to your copyright registration so that we can see the details.


This is going just swell, isn’t it?

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If you look a little later in the same thread, you will see that the trademark thing was already taken care of when I first heard from the fan:

I will ask for the copyright registration for you

And to be clear about the trademark. They did apply for it. They have not gotten it approved by the authorities and are retracting the application before that happens.

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it’s a never-ending nightmare.


Tell me about it…

All this make me so sad. We love Jason work, and we never lost our dream to make him proud of our work. We got it so close, but nothing ever happens ho we dream it to be. :pensive:

I can only imagine.

I’m tired beyond all words of this. Wondering if Jason had a point all along. Well, I always thought he had a point Just think we can come up with better solutions.

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It wasn’t clear, until just now, that the trademark application has been withdrawn.

I am not suggesting that a different name be chosen (“I will suggest to the publisher that they use a different name.” – Christoffer)

Like I said, I think that a distinct title will be even MORE confusing. As it stands, the Chinese publisher is distributing my game with very minor modifications—including my own drawing of myself, which doesn’t even appear in the game, in the banner artwork. The major modifications—the completely rewritten client code—are invisible to the players.

But you have no right to trademark this name, or any similar name, in China or anywhere else. One Hour Life. 1 Hour 1 Life. One Life One Hour. One Life Hour. Hour Life. Live for One Hour. All of these are similar enough to cause confusion about the nature of the work in question (passing off). Like if I named my publishing company Dueling Decades.

And a totally different title would also be confusing, at least as the mobile game stands now (reverse passing off).

For the time being, I think it is best to avoid any trademarking here at all, on your part, as it relates to this game. There is simply too much at stake to be staking any exclusive claims.


To be 100% clear: I have told them that they should withdraw it, and they have confirmed that they will. I will check the status with them when they wake up, to double check that it’s happened.

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Just checking one line of thought: Is there in your imagination any change which would make the app not “not approved” according to your definition? You’ve mentioned Santa Claus as something horrible, for example.

I’m asking because it wouldn’t hurt to know.

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Ok, guys, have to leave for the night. I’m sure there will be more disasters to deal with tomorrow. No shortage of them these days.

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No… I mean, it is your choices on top of it. You made some changes, some perhaps necessary (like touch controls) and others perhaps not (like Santa). The point is, I didn’t specifically approve or “sign off” on any of those changes. The touch controls aren’t by me, for example, nor did I ever test them to make sure they were “good enough for my standards” before you released them. In the Star Wars universe, you can imagine that some things were approved by George Lucas, and other things were not. The newest movies, in particular, were not, as far as I can tell.

By the way, perhaps “not specifically approved by original author Jason Rohrer” sounds better to you. I was trying to keep it short, and keep the word count down. But that is what I actually mean. Not that I specifically disapprove, but that I didn’t look at each of these changes and specifically approve them. The word SPECIFICALLY is a new addition here for you to consider.

Now, all that said, you could imagine a VERY direct port of my PC game, where absolutely no changes were made. Where the menu screen was black with white Futura font. Where all the in-game fonts were hand-drawn by me. Where there was no translation. Where there were no zoom settings. Where nudity was on by default and could not be disabled. (I’m not sure what the controls would be—that’s the impossible part… maybe where you had to plug a mouse into your phone).

Anyway, you could imagine such a direct port, where it would become unnecessary to mention that it was “not approved” by me, because it would be so identical to the version that I made, that my approval of the design choices would be implicit.

You would still need to make sure that people knew that I wasn’t involved, and that I didn’t make it. But there would be no chance of people thinking “Jason picked these fonts and this new UI and this Santa” if nothing was changed from the version that I made. In that case, Jason DID pick all this stuff. We just ported his choices.

And here’s an example of that, for Passage. I didn’t port it to Javascript or post it there. But it is such a direct port, that nothing special needs to be said about it:

I’m not necessarily saying that I hate Santa. It’s kinda funny. But it’s clearly something that I would never put in my own game! And it’s weird to have people thinking that I did make that choice.

In Star Wars, Ep 9 that comes out next year, if they suddenly have Yoda’s ghost doing a tap dance routine, people would know that George Lucas didn’t approve that.

Anyway you currently have two challenges. Clearly making sure that everyone understands:

  1. That I wasn’t involved with making this version, that it’s not official, by which it means that I’m not taking a cut, and that I didn’t specifically direct this version to be made. Most people know what “official” vs. “unofficial” means in this context, so I think that’s the best word to use, and it is the word you have been using so far, just perhaps not prominently enough.

  2. That I didn’t specifically approve of whatever changes you made to the original work. Changes big and small. Changes necessary and optional.

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I just made a post in the other thread about China and app publishing. Apparently it’s a big thing to have an app stamped as official (“官方版”) so there’d be the game “Official OHOL Unofficial” or “OHOL Unofficial, Official version”. Might be a bit weird.

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