Ah, gotta love the ABDL/ special interest community… not! At least not when it comes to those petty battles over copyrighting everything and everyone. After Rearz tried to register the generic “ABDL” term a while ago and got massive flak for it, a new battle is already raging in the form of ABU vs. Tykables slugging it out over whether anyone other than ABU may use the word “Space” to label their adult diapers. The original thread over at Reddit was even instigated by the current owner/ CEO of ABU, Casey Strom, which already makes this some sort of dick move on his part. Of course the whole truth is a little more convoluted, but let me try to explain my position.
First, I think it’s a total overreaction. I’m not a legal expert, least of all for US copyright law, but the pertinent entry in the USPTO database only ever says that specifically the term “Space” was registered. Not any variations, not any derivatives. That means that only the verbatim use is covered and anyone should be able to produce variations including the word “Space” followed by “Rocket” or as in this case “Cadet”. There you have it.
Furthermore in the thread’s opening post they talk about being required to enforce their trademark. Yeah, but does it actually mean they have to take legal action? They could have agreed on a quiet settlement/ licensing agreement and nobody would have made anything of it. I mean, c’mon, it’s a small world, after all. Can’t we just get along with each other? It’s not that we’re talking about billion dollar businesses being at stake here nor anyone skimming revenue from the other.
I also had to giggle about ABU‘s “web guy” bemoaning his precious SEO optimizations being at risk. Dude, get real! It’s not like your incontinent granny would google “space diaper”. Most of those search requests will come from people in the know that can clearly differentiate between ABU and Tykables being two separate companies catering a specific demographic. That and of course people find my shoddy little blogs without much hoopla and me not going out of my way to obsess about SEO (because I technically can’t influence it, anyway), so why the fuss?
As someone who has worked in the media industry and is aware of the many traps associated with copyright I’m not trying to trivialize the whole thing, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s a questionable or even shabby move by ABU‘s. Other than costing everyone a ton of money (one could even be cynical and argue it’s of the reasons why their products are so costly), this will probably not go anywhere. Personally I don’t think their claims have any real grounding and at the end of the day everyone loses. I just hope they come to their senses before this blows up in their faces.
Regardless, I’m looking forward to the upcoming products from both companies such as the ABU PeekABU and of course Tykables‘ Waddlers, Little Builders and Space Cadet.