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Sudoku crash and burn! Trademark issues in Japan!

12-14-2011, 01:55 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
Sudoku crash and burn! Trademark issues in Japan!

Everyone who uses the name Sudoku in their apps has received a notice from Apple that Nikoli wants the apps removed from the Japanese store where they hold the Trademark for the name Sudoku.

Syndicated Puzzles only has one app called Sudoku+Str8ts that is affected by this trademark infringement. We will gladly remove the name Sudoku from the Japanese market. But I have a very different issue with this matter......

The owner of Nikoli has been openly promoting the use of the name Sudoku since 2005. In many interviews he has been quoted as encouraging the use of the brand Sudoku. After 6 years of the name being used rampantly around the world, his group is asking us to stop using the name in Japan. I am not sure how strong they have been protecting the name Sudoku in Japan in the past, but this kind of reminds me of someone asking back for something they handed out on the subway 5 years ago.

I think this is a bad PR move by a company with a 5 star reputation in the puzzle world. We make our living the same way Nikoli does but we have been fighting to protect the intellectual properties that we have invented making it very tough on ourselves to get past the big boys in our industry.

This behaviour is a very strong indication to me that the saturation levels of Sudoku have hit a brick wall and Nikoli is now trying to take back their market in Japan.

Very strange behaviour after having a staggering run for six years!

It is good news for www.str8ts.com since Sudoku is cooling down rapidly and too many people are dipping into an ever shrinking market place dominated by Sudoku books being flogged at dollar stores.

01-03-2012, 03:54 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Cyberia :)
Posts: 137
We too received a trademark infringement request from Apple but it asks us to remove the app from the App Store and not just from the Japanese store. How are other indie developers reacting to this?

Frankly, the word Sudoku has been so popular these past few years, the thought that it might be a trademark never crossed our mind.

01-03-2012, 08:14 AM
We had this quite some time back (maybe a year ago). We removed from the Japanese App Store, and we haven't had any further complaints.
01-03-2012, 08:14 AM
Joined: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Posts: 245
This issue does not affect me, but I do have one question. Does it say that you can't use the name as a "search word" ?

Fantasy Adventure eBook set on a magical writer's desk available for DOWNLOAD @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H9K3KTW
01-04-2012, 01:01 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Cyberia :)
Posts: 137
Thanks for that note, Astraware. Very helpful to know that..

BlueSpiral, we were informed by the app store folks that our app was potentially infringing Nikoli IP. We wrote to Nikoli and haven't yet heard from them. We have since removed our app from Japanese store on our own.

Here's a link that might help:

WordsWorth: Universal
01-05-2012, 11:58 AM
Had the same issue last year too, removed it from the Japan AppStore and all was good.

Gorillas climbing buildings are always awesome Mayan Software
01-06-2012, 10:40 AM
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Cyberia :)
Posts: 137
Nikoli responded and requested for the app to be removed from Japan App Store. We did. And they sent a letter confirming that they did not have any more problem with our app. That resolved the matter for us