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Reddit ‘Gaymers’ fight cease-and-desist letter from trademark holder

Courthouse News Service
Friday, January 25, 2013
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Gay video game enthusiasts who belong to a “Gaymer” subsection of the website Reddit have urged the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to cancel registration of the term.

The Gaymers subreddit (/r/gaymers) exists in a forum of the website Reddit.com. It purports to represent a community of “more than 21,000″ LGBT video game enthusiasts.

In a petition Tuesday to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the subreddit said Chris Vizzini has improperly registered “gaymer” as a mark for his website gaymer.org.

Represented pro bono by Perkins Coie and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the subreddit says “gaymer” is generic and belongs in the public domain.

A play on the term gamer, given primarily to video games enthusiasts, Gaymers share the same passion but also identify “with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community,” according to the petition.

Public use of “gaymer” dates to “at least the early 1990s,” when a “growing group of individuals within the gaming community began to use it to identify themselves,” the petition states.

Vizzini registered “gaymer” in March 2008, claiming to have used the term for computer-related services beginning in 2005. He sent Reddit a cease-and-desist letter in August 2012.

“For petitioner’s members, many of whom have been politically and/or socially marginalized, the term gaymer represents a community based on a common purpose and activity,” the six-page petition states. “They are proud to be members of that community, and were surprised that registrant claimed ownership of the common term that describes it.”

EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry said in a statement that the “registration should never have been granted.”

“Gaymer is a common term that refers to members of this vibrant gaming community, and we are happy to help them fight back and make sure the term goes back to the public domain where it belongs,” she added.

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