George Lucas Declares Trademark War On Digg
There’s no balance in the Force with the Digg.com around, says LucasFilms, who has filed a trademark complaint against the social news site. Diggers haven’t been this torn since they walked out of The Phantom Menace and realized how much it sucked.
The trademark attorneys for LucasFilms, the George Lucas’s production company responsible for such classics as Star Wars and Indiana Jones, claims Digg is far too similar to The Dig, a relatively obscure video game released first released in 1994.
In the complaint (PDF) filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, there is first a focus on Digg’s own description of its services, specifically the part addressing "news and information in the field of technology, namely computer games and computer enhancement for games."
While making a case that product descriptions are somewhat similar might be a stretch, LucasFilms really doesn’t like it that the marks are different by only a letter – only one letter because, according to the complaint "the" doesn’t count as part of the mark, though some may beg to differ.
LucasFilms claims that Digg is identical or nearly identical to The Dig and is "confusingly similar in sound, meaning, and appearance," which likely will "create confusion, mistake or deception in the minds of prospective purchasers as to the origin of source of goods." What’s more, they "travel in the same channels."
And while any self-respecting Digg.com is, by creed, a major George Lucas fan, the users seem more confused about someone suggesting they don’t know the difference between the news website and the video game nobody plays. One commentator calls the lawsuit "frivolous."
In almost correct English, Digger Maxwell Lamb writes:
Lucasfilm no longer care about ‘The Dig’ trademark, as the brand is obsolete and no longer relevant to their business or their merchandising. They have filed what they know to be a frivolous suit with a view to Digg winning with ease, thus setting a precedence for the prevalence of their trademark.
But Richard "Red Eye" says LucasFilms’ legal team is just doing their job:
As far as I know "The Dig" wasnt a website full of megalomaniacs who thought that the world revolved around their opinions.
So since there is no likely confusion between the two trademarks then the suit will be tossed and both trademarks will be enforced. Lucas is just exercising their legal requirement to defend their trademarks or risk losing them. A little overzealous but it provides 100% protection for them in the future.
But we won’t know for sure until at least after August this year, when the discovery period closes. Interestingly though, as one commentator has mentioned, TheDig.com doesn’t belong to LucasFilms, even though the product has been around for a dozen years. So this latest enforcement action seems to have just occurred to them after Digg.com became so popular.