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MAME Trademarked by UltraCade


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After visiting Zophar for the news and MAME.Net for more information, it appears, that David Foley (Owner of Ultracade) has attempted to trademark MAME. He has even threatened MAMEDev and people on eBay that mention MAME as well. This same tactic has been known to be tried before with Linux with no avail. See the links below for more information.

 

http://tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?regser=...&entry=76627578

 

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The threats are not about the name

 

According to a post by Kevin Steele on alt.games.mame, Foley is already threatening eBay auctions which mention MAME (e.g. Dream Ultimates cabinet kits), and he plans to sue MAMEdev (and Razoola?) over the CPS-2 XOR scheme. Make of that what you will.

 

http://www.mame.net/cgi-bin/wwwthreads/sho...sb=7#Post168488

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http://www.ultracade.com/mame.pdf

 

http://www.mame.net/cgi-bin/wwwthreads/sho...sb=7#Post168521

 

 

Like most things that are spread by rumor, the facts about me, UltraCade

Technologies, and the M.A.M.E. emulation system are quite distorted. I will

try and educate anyone who cares to listen about the reality of our

marketplace and what we are doing and what we are not. Simply put, we are

making an effort to stamp out the commercial sales of M.A.M.E. based systems

that advertise the ability to play thousands of games while relying on the

customer to obtain the ROMs which can not legally be obtained. What we are

not doing is trying to claim ownership of the M.A.M.E. open source emulator

or sue its authors. We are concerned about the commercial marketplace, and

not the readers of the many M.A.M.E. user groups and forums.

 

I have been working on emulation technology since the mid 80's when I did

work on an emulation project in college. In 1994, while working on games

for companies like Sega and Williams, we developed an emulation of the

arcade games Joust, Defender and Robotron that ran on a Sega Genesis. In

1996, we started the Lucky 8 project which turned into the UltraCade

project. In 1998 we were one of the first companies to acquire the rights to

classic arcade games from various publishers. We have licensed games from

several manufacturers including Capcom, Jaleco, Taito, Stern, Incredible

Technologies, Midway, Atari and more. We have started several projects and

built prototypes for companies like Sega, based on technology that was

licensed from authors from the emulation community. We have licensed

technology from many of the communities programmers, paying them to use

their code in our products and demonstrations. We have been the leader of

the retro arcade movement, and have invested millions of dollars creating a

market for retro games. UltraCade was the first successful multi-game

arcade machine combining many of the old classics. We further enhanced the

market by creating Arcade Legends, our consumer version of the UltraCade

product. We have also paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing

fees to have the right to sell our games.

 

In the past couple of years, there has been a huge wave of resellers

competing with our UltraCade and Arcade Legends products. They build a

similar style cabinet, install a PC in the machine, load M.A.M.E., and sell

it for a very low price. Lower than we could ever offer our machines for

sale. How? Quite Simple. They profit by stealing others work. If you

look at the web sites, and read the eBay ads they offer machines that "Play

over 4,000 Classic Arcade Games" They then try and skirt the law by

pretending that they are not promoting piracy of these same 4,000 games with

statements like "we don't load the ROMs" but of course, almost all of them

do. The others that don't, they provide you with an instruction sheet with

a link to several web sites where you can illegally download the ROMs, or

provide you with the contact information for a CD/DVD duplication house that

will sell you a set of ROMs for all 4,000 games for less than $200. Would

anyone really buy this arcade machine if they knew that there was no legal

way for them to run over 99% of the games that they were promised, I don't

think so, and if you really look at this without emotion, I'm sure you would

agree. These companies are simply selling the promise of thousands of games

on a machine that can not possibly run them legally. I sometimes hear the

argument, "well, I could go on eBay and buy up all of these games and then

run it", and while plausible, it certainly would not be anywhere near cost

effective, and again, if the customer knew that to legally operate these

games, they have to spend thousands of dollars buying legal ROMs I seriously

doubt that they would consider purchasing a M.A.M.E. machine. Anyone

reading this email thread is an intelligent person, and if they put emotions

aside, they will realize that what we are saying about selling M.A.M.E.

machines and the promise of getting 4,000 games for the average consumer

can't possibly happen. Unlike most of you reading this, the average consumer

looking to buy a machine for their game room has no idea how emulation

works, or what is legal and illegal to do. To them, they read an

advertisement on a website or on eBay and compare our product with 50 games

or an ad for a machine that promises thousands of games, with the promise of

instructions about how to obtain those games. Of course, in this skewed

environment the average consumer would gravitate towards the thousands of

games machine, not realizing that the software and the games are unlicensed

and illegal to play. Most consumers who are pointed at a web site selling a

7 DVD set of ROMs have no idea that this is an act of piracy, they were

simply instructed to do this by the person selling them their arcade

cabinet, and told this is how you get the games.

 

Now that we have attempted to take legal recourse to prevent illegal

competition, the same people, who steal the work of the M.A.M.E. authors,

and then profit by selling machines that have no value without the pirated

games being made available, turn around and cry foul when we call them on

their ways. They run to the M.A.M.E. discussion forums and spread rumors

about UltraCade suing the authors of M.A.M.E. or stealing the M.A.M.E.

engine. I'm amazed at the response of the community, a community that is

being whipped into action by the same people who are stealing and profiting

from them and they're efforts. Many people have reacted with hate mail

without even considering to look at the facts of the situation, or to

realize who is spreading the rumors. They are being spread by those who

wish to profit by selling unlicensed games.

 

The simple fact is that we are attempting to stop the tide of illegal arcade

machines, and the promotion of unlicensed games. The M.A.M.E. platform,

while a technical marvel, consists of many violations of copyrights and

trademarks. The authors have always stated in the documentation that it was

not put into the public domain to steal from the game authors or publishers,

and they have always been hands off about how to obtain the ROMs. They have

also clearly stated that it is not to be used for commercial gains. A

majority of the publishers who own the copyrighted material have not paid

much attention to this marketplace, as until recently it has not had a huge

commercial impact. But now, there are websites and eBay sellers selling

machines that directly compete with legitimate publishers like us who

publish games from Capcom, Taito, Midway, Atari and others, or publishers

like Namco that publish Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga or the Donkey Kong/Mario Bros.

machines.

 

Of the many thousands of games that M.A.M.E. supports, only a minute

fraction of them can legally be played on a M.A.M.E. equipped machine, and

many can not. There are many fallacies about the legality of owning ROMs

and how you can play the game. Many people claim that they have a board set

and therefore they can download as many ROMs as they like. The law is very

strict. You can transfer the image from the actual original ROM chips,

which you legally own, to another piece of hardware, provided that you

actually transfer the code from the chips. Just having a board sitting

around, and saying I have the right to play it is not the case. Many people

point to StarROMs and say that they can then sell the games with the ROMs

installed. This is not the case either. StarROMs license prohibits the

resale of the game licenses, and only the end user can purchase these ROM

images, resellers can not. Our market is further plagued by the rash of 4

in 1, 9 in 1, 24 in 1 39 in 1 and the new 300 in 1 "multicade" boards.

These boards come from Taiwan and Hong Kong and contain illegal copies of

the ROMs of several games.

 

This is a complex case amongst companies that are trying to make it about

UltraCade stealing something from the M.A.M.E. team. That is not what this

is about. This is simply UltraCade Technologies and other publishers doing

whatever it takes to protect our commercial interests and prevent other

companies from stealing our market by capitalizing on unlicensed games and

selling products that only have value when coupled with illegally obtained

games. Our application towards a trademark is to simply prevent anyone from

commercially marketing an illegal product, nothing more. There have been no

lawsuits filed against any of the M.A.M.E. authors, and there have been no

claims towards the open source engine, nor will there be We are simply

protecting our commercial market, and nothing more. We have no interest in

the hobby community. We have no interest in the open source project. Our

goal is to simply stop the rampant piracy in our marketplace, and we will

use every means at our disposal to do so.

 

I welcome open discussions about this situation, and will respond to

legitimate communications or questions.

 

-David R. Foley

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http://www.ultracade.com/openoffer.pdf

 

 

February 21, 2005

An open offer to the M.A.M.E. community.

Our recent actions to protect our products have met with a lot of controversy. Many

people have been quick to judge and make accusations about what we are attempting to

do, and what we have already done. It is my understanding that the spirit of the

M.A.M.E. community is “"M.A.M.E.'s purpose is to preserve these decades of videogame

history.” It is further my understanding that “Selling either is not allowed” with

regards to M.A.M.E.

Given this understanding, we are willing to help promote these goals and work to provide

the original authors with the protection they deserve. Our goal is to prevent the

commercial offering of machines with illegally obtained ROMs. I believe our goals can

work in parallel.

Furthermore, we have a long standing relationship with many publishers of many games,

and we are constantly working to obtain more and more licenses for these games.

Our goal in filing the trademark for the name M.A.M.E. was simply to give us leverage

against those companies that promote and sell machines with M.A.M.E. installed on it,

and more importantly, provide their customers with the means to illegally obtain the

ROMs. This doesn’t help our sales of our products. This doesn’t help the community in

general.

We have no desire to use the M.A.M.E. name or logos; we simply wish to find ways to

prevent illegal distribution of classic arcade games. We will be happy to cancel our

application and work with the M.A.M.E. team to assign it to its rightful owners; however

we do want to prevent it from being awarded to someone that intends to use it

commercially.

I am available to work with the community to ensure that this happens, and to help get

more games made available to the community at a reasonable price.

David R. Foley

CEO

UltraCade Technologies

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http://www.ultracade.com/openoffer.pdf

 

 

February 21, 2005

An open offer to the M.A.M.E. community.

Our recent actions to protect our products have met with a lot of controversy. Many

people have been quick to judge and make accusations about what we are attempting to

do, and what we have already done. It is my understanding that the spirit of the

M.A.M.E. community is “"M.A.M.E.'s purpose is to preserve these decades of videogame

history.” It is further my understanding that “Selling either is not allowed” with

regards to M.A.M.E.

Given this understanding, we are willing to help promote these goals and work to provide

the original authors with the protection they deserve. Our goal is to prevent the

commercial offering of machines with illegally obtained ROMs. I believe our goals can

work in parallel.

Furthermore, we have a long standing relationship with many publishers of many games,

and we are constantly working to obtain more and more licenses for these games.

Our goal in filing the trademark for the name M.A.M.E. was simply to give us leverage

against those companies that promote and sell machines with M.A.M.E. installed on it,

and more importantly, provide their customers with the means to illegally obtain the

ROMs. This doesn’t help our sales of our products. This doesn’t help the community in

general.

We have no desire to use the M.A.M.E. name or logos; we simply wish to find ways to

prevent illegal distribution of classic arcade games. We will be happy to cancel our

application and work with the M.A.M.E. team to assign it to its rightful owners; however

we do want to prevent it from being awarded to someone that intends to use it

commercially.

I am available to work with the community to ensure that this happens, and to help get

more games made available to the community at a reasonable price.

David R. Foley

CEO

UltraCade Technologies

 

Ok, by attempting to register this trademark and use that to force the MAME community into cooperation with his goals, he is committing extortion. I find this to be and even more base and deplorable attempt to profit off open-source notoriety via a lawsuit than the SCO case. I am so outraged I can barely breathe.

 

I hope everyone here plans to help fight this in an organized fashion. The best thing that can be done is to use the trademark application review system. Regardless of the validity, every trademark application undergoes a process of review. The opposition process is pretty straightforward. See here However, it requires a registration fee and benefits from multiple people attesting to the infringement. Because of this, an organized online-petition type appeal to aid would be ideal. Hopefully one is started by mame or mameworld. If not, would 1emu step up to the plate? I'd hate to see the opposition to this fail just because it wasn't properly submitted.

Edited by Sultan
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I think the courts way throw this out due to the reason Sultan gave. This is almost exactly like SCO vs. Linux.

Except there's no court involved here, at least not until after the trademark is granted. How the trademark office will act here is a bit of a mystery. Common sense says they will spend 1 minute on google and reject the application. But I'm not familiar enough with cases trademarks of open source developments. Its quite possible the trademark office could do the unthinkable and grant it, simply to let the courts sort it out later. I don't want the poor mamedevs to be dragged into a court case ever, so I'm hopeful this will be stopped in the application process.

 

If anyone sees an organized opposition like the one I outlined, please post it here!

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