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I recently received notification from Apple that Reversi is a trademark of Ravensburger AG and that I needed to change the name of the application, or take it down. I know that Othello is a trademark (of Anjar Co), but thought that Reversi was a generic name and not a trademark. After some investigation, it transpires that Ravensburger AG have a European trademark for the name. Mattel also held a US trademark for the name, but this lapsed in 1989.

The misconception that Reversi is a generic name and not a trademark is probably due to the game of Reversi itself being in the public domain and due to there not being a current US trademark.

Looking at the App Store, there are dozens of implementations of the game of Reversi that use the (European trademarked) name Reversi in their title, but who still sell their app in Europe. I've noticed some use of the Othello name too in the past.

I am complying with Apple's request and changing the name of my Reversi apps. I can't help but wonder how many other publishers using the Reversi trademark will be contacted by Apple and how many will change the name of their app.

UPDATE: Ravensburger finally got back to me, with this:

We kindly ask you for your understanding that we cannot tolerate any use of our trademark Revers® in any form, be it alone or together with other words like “Classic”. As a matter of fact, ReversI® is not a generic name of a game. Therefore you are kindly requested to choose for another name which is not similar to our trademark.

Amusingly, he misspelled Reversi twice. This response seems rather unfair considering the other 140+ reversi games on the App Store that use the word Reversi in their title. He also confirms their position that Reversi is not a generic name for the game. For some reason everyone else including The World Othello Federation seems to think otherwise.

UPDATE 2: I've complied with the request and Reversi is now sold as Black vs White on the relevant European App Stores.

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Posted Sun 01 May 2011 by Michael Patricios , updated Sun 10 Jul 2011

Tags: App Store, Kiss The Machine

Comments

  • We too have been contacted by Apple for our multi-player reversi.. We will need to fix a new name.

    Sree commented Fri 07 Oct 2011
  • Me too,. It was a simple test so i removed the app fro the store.

    Spiggy commented Fri 07 Oct 2011
  • Please contact me. It is possible to use the name Othello.

    Benkt Steentoft commented Fri 21 Sep 2012
  • Benkt - no, Othello is a trademark of Anjar Co

  • It seems that Othello no longer belongs to Anjar Co, now it belongs to megahouse, they have removed 56 othello games from play store.

  • jcesar - interesting.. it seems there's some ongoing dispute between MegaHouse and Anjar Co, although I don't know if this is regarding Othello

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