Gaijin Entertainment Demands, Which Predates Them And Doesn't Infringe Their Trademark

from the trademark-abuse dept

In the latest example of extreme trademark abuse, video game company Gaijin Entertainment is not just claiming a trademark over “gaijin” but using it to demand the domain name, which was registered by Brandon Harris back in May of 1995. The legal nastygram that the company sent is quite incredible, suggesting that Harris registered the domain later and is somehow infringing on their mark:

It came to our attention that you registered and maintain a website (“Infringing Website”) that infringes Gaijin Mark. By maintaining and offering to public your content via the website, i.e., Infringing Website, having the same domain as Gaijin Mark, you create consumer confusion and mistake as to the source, sponsorship and/or affiliation of the Infringing Website and Gaijin, thereby infringing Gaijin Mark.

Luckily, Harris has Mike Godwin (yes, that Mike Godwin, so get your Nazi references in early) as a lawyer, and he quickly sent back the following excellent response.

Dear Mr. Goldstein-Gureff,

Please be advised that my client, Brandon Harris, disputes your trademark-infringement claim in every particular.

That is the most polite way to state how vigorously we dispute your attempt to assert flat ownership of the word “gaijin,” a word so well-established in English that it is an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Currently, I’m advising my client to publicize your demand letter, so that the entire game-consuming public will be made aware of your client’s overreaching trademark assertions. In addition, we will of course continue to make clear that Brandon Harris’s website in no way gives rise to any kind of marketplace confusion of the sort that American trademark law is designed to address.

In the interests of allowing you and your client to gracefully retract your claim, we have chosen to refrain from publicizing your demand until you respond to this message, provided that you respond no later than close-of-business Monday. Since I am currently in DC, Eastern time applies.

–Mike Godwin

P.S. I understand that your clients are possibly Russian nationals. You may wish to explain to them the scope and limitations of the Lanham Act in the United States.


Obviously, they did not retract the claim in time, and thus, the trademark bullying is now public.

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Companies: gaijin entertainment

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Comments on “Gaijin Entertainment Demands, Which Predates Them And Doesn't Infringe Their Trademark”

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S. T. Stone says:

Re: Re: Re:

Gaijin is a Japanese word meaning “non-Japanese”, or “alien”. The word is composed of two kanji: gai (外), meaning “outside”; and jin (人), meaning “person” ? thus, the word could also, in some contexts, be translated into English as “outsider”.

I know Wikipedia doesn?t exactly count as the most reputable source of information these days, but?

D says:

Re: Not only anomaly, but no action beyond a letter.

OOTB – go stuff yourself and stop making yourself a laughing stock. You must be really, REALLY thick-skinned (or maybe just thick?) if you don’t realise that everyone is laughing at you. Your comments are not needed.
Oops – just fed the troll. Never mind, I could do with a bit of sophisticated entertainment, which I certainly won’t get from OOTB.

Noah Callaway (profile) says:

Gaijin Entertainment, not Gaijin Games

Just as a heads up to any gamers that may be considering sending off angry e-mails: There are several games companies with the name Gaijin. The offender in this case was Gaijin Entertainment (

There is another company that would be easy to confuse with this action. Gaijin Games (makers of the excellent BitTrip runner games) are not involved in this action as far as I can tell.

Just want to make sure we all point our angry in the right direction.

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Re: Gaijin Entertainment, not Gaijin Games

Gaijin Games sure are good peeps. I met their dev team at Blip Fest 2009. Some of buddies in the Chip Music scene (like Anamanaguchi, Minusbaby (who did the artwork for my album The Aftermath) and Bit Shifter) have their music in their Bit.Trip games.

My favorite would have to be Bit Shifter’s “Strange Comfort”.

t3rminus (profile) says:

Of Note...

Of note is that this is “Gaijin Entertainment” (, makers of the MMO-flying-sim War Thunder, not “Gaijin Games” (, makers of the BIT.TRIP series.

You’d think people would be more confused with these two, as opposed to some random website that just happens to use

Anonymous Coward says:

if Congress hadn’t have made such a fuck up of the patent/trademark/copyright laws, this situation wouldn’t arise. if Congress were to correct the fuck up they made in patent/trademark/copyright laws, these situations would then be few and far between. i appreciate, however, that it may mean a reduction in their bank accounts, but they should think of the smaller amount of work that would then be involved for everyone. would that not be a better option??

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Trademarks are not about protectionism, but about protecting consumers. There is not much wrong with trademark laws.

Patents/copyrights are totally messed up and are grinding the technology industry to a halt, and justifying massive spying on individuals. They should be curtailed or sh!tcanned altogether.

I’m clarifying because they tend to get lumped together and are not the same.

John85851 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Cases like the Olympic Pizza/ IOC don’t have much to do with customers confusing one company with another, but with the customer assuming there’s an endorsement. Obviously Olympic Pizza has nothing to do with the IOC, but the IOC doesn’t want people to think the pizza place is an official sponsor when they haven’t paid the licensing fees.

This is the same reason why no one can say “Super Bowl” any more because they fear the NFL will sue them for using those words without paying the licensing fees.

Sorry to get off-topic.

kitsune361 (profile) says:

There are so many ways...

There are so many ways to pull this off without being a jerk.

If they REALLY wanted the domain name they could have offered to buy it for the ludicrous amount of money they’re paying their legal council. They could come up with an agreement to buy the domain if the guy ever stops using it (some sort of right of first refusal if he ever sells the domain). If they were really interested in disambiguation they could have asked for a link on the guy’s page (“if you’re looking for Gaijin Entertainment…”).

Instead they sic the lawyers on a blog that’s been around since nearly the dawn of the commercial internet. /facepalm

If they’re so worried about such a tarnishing of their mark, why haven’t they gone after Gaijin Games yet?

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