Trivia-focused Buzztime Entertainment claims SCEE's PlayStation 2 quiz games are infringing on its own line of products.
Along with titles like EyeToy and SingStar, Sony's Buzz! line of quiz games for the PlayStation 2 have been part of a concerted effort on the part of the electronics giant to court a more mainstream audience with its gaming console. However, one company already well-established in serving that sector's trivia needs thinks Sony's family friendly games are a little too familiar.
Carlsbad, California-based Buzztime Entertainment filed suit against Sony Computer Entertainment Europe in the Southern District of California last week, alleging that the Buzz! line of games and the "It's time to get buzzing" tagline violate several of its own trademarks. Established in 1985, Buzztime makes a line of electronic trivia games most commonly found in restaurants and bars, with an estimated 13 million players each month. The company also runs quiz services over mobile phones, digital cable and satellite systems, and even offers home versions (some of them Coleco-branded) that hook up to a TV and include differently colored wireless controllers.
Buzztime does not have a trademark on the word "buzz" for use in games, but it does have a variety of similar trademarks registered as far back as 2001, including "Buzztime," "Buzzhead," "Share the Buzz," and "Buzzkids." SCEE has filed for a trio of trademarks for "Buzz!" (one with the exclamation point, two without). Each of SCEE's marks has been published for opposition, though none of them are officially registered yet.
The Buzztime Entertainment trademarks cover uses of the terms for "entertainment in the nature of interactive games played via interactive television and an interactive global computer network," and "equipment for playing a plug and play game, namely, video game machines for use with televisions, video game interactive remote control units, video game cartridges, and interactive video game programs," among other things.
Buzztime is accusing SCEE of selling similar products to similar audiences, sometimes through similar channels with the intention of misleading consumers into believing the Buzz! series of games has some association with Buzztime. The suit also alleges that SCEE is guilty of "malicious, fraudulent, knowing, willful, and deliberate" violation of its trademarks.
In addition to the recall and destruction of all infringing products, Buzztime is asking the court for actual damages, punitive damages, legal fees, and an order to the US Patent and Trademark Office not to register SCEE's pending trademarks.
As of press time, SCEE representatives had not returned GameSpot's requests for comment.
I agree with 'lingtong15', 'Blackstaff' & 'Trigun0006' (aswell as numerous others)! ...I think the only reason they are suing is to get cash considering Buzz! is doing really well nowadays & about to go on PS3...I mean if they were that annoyed.....why didn't they sue Sony like 5 years ago or w/e!? p.s. seriously who has ACTUALLY heard of Buzztime or w/e before!? meh...
Shh! Just keep quite and let Buzztime Entertainment go after Sony and spend a lot of money and get the suit thrown out of court. Just go to http://www.gamespot.com/news/6139411.html and you will find Sony has nothing to do do wit Buzz! except for having the game published on it's platform.
"similar " thats the BUZZ! word :P sort it out.. similar isnt the same we'll sue them because its nearly coping us but not quite and see how far that goes lol LAME!
Buzztime-Money sueing bastards....come on, alot of people don't even know of Buzztime and Buzz! has been out for a while now. From what i've seen i think Buzztime have a major loss in sales because of Buzz! and now they want payback on Sony...just tell Buzztime to f***& o** And get a life
oh no not another law suit...sony seems to be a huge target for these people who just file suit after suit...
I think I will file a patent for any kind if console ever to be made. And then sue anybody who ever makes a console again.
Aw come on! Another suit at Sony, over a quiz game? Seriously, come on! It doesn't take a genius to come up with similar ideas for the same genre, it's not like it's a blatant disregard for copyrights, trademarks and patents. Sometimes people solve problems are develop tools that are the same, you don't see tool manufacturers suing each other over table saws that look and operate the same.
Never heard of Buzztime, but love the buzz games. Thought Americans hated Buzz. I know the European countries love it. Buzz is a great party game
Sigh more third parties want their cut of the new PS3s profits now that Sony is making head way. So sad if you ask me. Did this kind of stuff not happen when Microsoft first got the Xbox360 out the door and started to make cash off it? Seems these valtures like to wait till the next big thing makes some cash and then jump on board by sewing the company that makes it. Thats a bad practice if you ask me. What a way to make a name for your self by being a greedy casino man with so much money it's not even funny yet you take on a big company like Sony? This will get dropped big time.
the buzz! games have been out for a long time, don't you think that these buzztime people would have picked up on it a bit sooner?
Reminds me of one of the commercials on a radio station in GTA III "...See, the great thing about this country is you can sue anyone for pretty much anything! And you'll probably win! Or at least get a settlement..." Hilarious when I first heard it, but it seems true
Sony must be said to be an easy target or something. Everyone's after them! So why didn't this come up with the first Buzz? Seems suss.
Oh come on how long did it take for them to dam well notice if it did look familar. How many BUZZ games are they now for PS2 I've seen 3 I think it's taken them that long to finally catch up. It's all a load of crap it's a smaller company who's product will probably find in a bargain bin asking for money cause there running out. If they wanted it to so dam good marketing for it would of been a lot better.
It takes lawyers like 6-hours to read and turn a single page of their legal nonsense. Never mind how long it takes to get everything together to actually sue someone like Sony.
its a valid thing to sue sony on but it has been so long, which is what has dissapointed me. these buzz games have been out so long. it makes you think they were waiting to get their moneys worth
I would say that as long as it had a different style of game-play and showed minimal (if any) resemblance to the Buzztime games, then it is stupid to sue Sony over a " selling similar products to similar audiences, sometimes through similar channels" since lots of companies sell similar products (just look at all the tetris knock-offs). Now if the game is indeed IDENTICAL to the Buzztime products, (and that is a big if) then I can fully understand the reasoning behind the lawsuit and I would then support it.
I'm not sure why so many people are dismissing this as trivial. If one of GameSpot's readers had developed a new product, trademarked it and marketed it, only to have Sony create a suspiciously similar product, I'm sure he would be none too pleased. If it were my game, I would certainly sue. Sony's lawyers don't seem to be doing due diligence when it comes to these patents and trademarks. It seems like they run afoul of many of them.
Never heard of buzztime before, I'm great at Buzz though, but they need to stop putting such easy questions in the game or put together a game thats not for retards
'misleading consumers into believing the Buzz! series of games has some association with Buzztime' yeh right as if anyone wants to go out and buy a buzztime product over a sony one.
look at it this way--the wwf--world wrestling federation --was named this for years untile another wwf company sued wwf because they used it first becaue it was for the world wildlife foundation--so the wwf changed name to wwe--such petty little things these days--they talk about how society makes frivolous lawsuits and how its against the law to do such thing may i add-- but yet here we are more frvolous lawsuits from other companies----all i say is this-- if buzz was their patent word then i guess military needs to sue buzztime beause i am sure the buzz cut hair cuts were around before buzztime and i am sure they said--its buzztime--when getting your hair shaved off--how far is these companies willing to go to make a name for themselves..
Complete idiocy. Useless attempt at trying to make some money. I expect it'll blow over in a week or two.
Seems like everybody is trying to sue everybody these days. If they really have 13 million users a month then buzztime must be making a decent profit in some way, shape or form. Plus how many people even own the buzz trivia game? It looks kinda cool but I know it can't be anywhere near 13 million. They might barely sold a million I would guess. If casual game makers are suing casual game makers then what has the gaming world come to?
God this is the dumbest lawsuite ever. I hope whoever buzztime ceo is feels really stupid with this one. Go Sony on this one. haha.
Buzz is barily even a word, its an onomatopia, less than a word. who gives a crap??? its another attempt to get a few more dollars away from the success of sonys game line. the problem with makeing something suceessful is thats when people start trying to get money out of it.
towelie892 Trademarking real words is BS I agree. especially with words like Buzz. They can't own it. and their word isn't even just buzz, its buzzline and w/e else I honestly don't care. Sure it was stupid on Sony's part to not think of something else and if they really did want to associate the game with the trivia line buzzline brand then they should have talked it out between the 2 companies. but that doesnt excuse what I was talking about. Its a freakin word. as long as its not exact it shouldn't matter. And they don't hold a trademark on the word "buzz" so I don't see how they can sue anyway just because they have others with the word buzz in it. Its not the same thing
hmm, can't beat Sony, huh? Well, what do you call the lack of rumble support in the first year of PS3? Sony cutting costs?
Sorry for the double post, but I realize I misread the article; I thought they DID have a trademark on the word 'buzz' as well as the other terms.
This is interesting - I am quite sure Buzztime entertainment has merit in their suit. Hope they have a lot of money, as that is all Sony will do, throw money and lawyers at this (sniff) problem.
This is actually starting to confirm my suspicions that we're about to go through a phase where majority of small electronics and entertainment businesses are finding their own pie of the market being eaten away from the Big 3 (Sony, Nintendo, & M$). Most of you probably don't remember, but the late-70s up to the early-90s saw an orgy of mass electronic gimmicks by small businesses. Fortunately for Nintendo and Sony, they managed to hit a vibe, with one of their products, in all of us gamers (excluding M$ since they came into the console business in 2000) that propelled them into the big league of entertainment. Since then all 3 have had third party developers burning through ideas faster than stomach acid can chew through chicken fat. And unfortunately, this is what we're left with... they drum up this idea. I do wonder how do we even survive as gamers to today.
Because "Buzztime" doesn't have a trademark on quiz games -or- the word Buzz, I don't see how these people could possibly win the case