MLB cries foul, demands ‘Baseball’ iPhone app-maker cease and desist

“Major League Baseball is crying foul over an Apple iPhone App called Baseball that it says infringes on MLB trademarks,” Tom Spring reports for PC World.

“At issue is Baseball’s use of MLB team logos inside the application. The free Baseball application for iPhones debuted last Friday as one of hundreds of applications available through iTunes App Store. Baseball, published by Bulbous Ventures, is a reference utility packed with baseball statistics dating back to the 1888 Detroit Wolverines all the way up to San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds’ 2007 battering average of .276,” Spring reports.

“On Monday Michigan’s Mark Knopper, owner and sole employee of Bulbous Ventures, received an email from MLB Advanced Media demanding that he remove baseball team logos from his program along with a nearly imperceptible MLB logo used on the application program shortcut,” Spring reports.

“The avid Detroit Tiger fan says he will comply, but admits disappointment,” Spring reports. “Knopper, a self-employed Mac programmer, created the Baseball iPhone App for pure amusement and thought it would ‘cool to just give the program away for free to other baseball fans’ like him, he says… Knopper isn’t taking any legal chances. ‘Major League Baseball could squash me like a bug. The logos will be removed.'”

More in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sean” for the heads up.]

53 Comments

  1. MLB should hire the guy and promote the service. People are already tired of these overpaid players. Making more money than they are worth. MLB and players image needs an overhaul.

  2. It is sad when big corporations or organizations like MLB or AT&T;make something exclusive to the point where some will walk away. Makes you wonder how many fans they would really have if they opened or unlocked what they choose to say is mine, mine, mine. I wonder how long it will take Apple Inc. to see this.

  3. Well said. Jake is absolutely right. You might not agree with how our legal system works with respect to Intellectual Property law, but in this case MLB had no choice. If they were not to defend their trademarks and logo now, some scumbag could use this as a case for stealing the marks, then using the Baseball app case to defend their right to steal them outright. And it’s likely that they would win.

    Take the Tiffany vs. eBay case that was decided this week for example. Tiffany sued eBay in US courts to try to stop counterfeit silverware from being auctioned and sold on eBay. In its decision, the US court sympathized with Tiffany, knowing that the company is suffering significant damage from counterfeiting. But in case law, eBay is merely a place of exchange, and is not obligated under law to intercede on behalf of Tiffany. This was not the case in France, where the French courts found in favor of Tiffany. (The French courts traditionally defend large copyright holders, particularly native companies.) But in the US, the court sided with eBay, in part because of the decision would have ramifications on future cases.

    It’s why Apple has no choice but to sue Psystar. Even if Apple does not win on the shrink-wrap license issue, it’s likely the courts will find in favor of Apple on trademark infringement.

    When a company or organization invests as much as Apple or MLB has in branding and marketing its trademark in the US, it is essential that they vigorously defend their name, logo and trademarks. Otherwise you have a situation like that which you find in China, where counterfeiting is flagrant. More than a few companies have been destroyed by counterfeiting. And if you think, “hey, what’s the big deal?”, you would be wrong. It costs companies billions in losses to scumbag counterfeiters.

    While I hate to see a little guy get stepped on, MLB sadly had no choice here. Any judge will tell you that ignorance is no defense under US laws. Just like you could not tell a judge that you didn’t see the stop sign that you ran, nor can the small programmer say that he did not know that he was violating the copyright and trademarks of MLB. Sad, but true. I have a hunch that the programmer will settle quickly and quietly, re-issue his app again without the MLB images, and live to play ball another day.

    And that, children, is today’s lesson on IP law. Don’t forget – there will be a quiz on this on Monday. Have a nice weekend.

  4. They do the same thing to Little League Organizations and makers of their uniforms. Any uniform maker (local shops) that use Major League Logo’s on uniforms have to “buy” the license to use it. Yes it sucks and that is why we have gone away from using MLB logo’s.

    Take off the logo’s and everything will be fine. Just use the names and create something with their colors and not their logo.

    MLB doesn’t get it, they are trying to squeeze every dollar they can out of the fans. Soon there will be no fans.

  5. Come on MLB, this man is not profiting from the logos on the applications, why not call him and bring him more support, he is doing something really good for the fans. Intelectual Property? My grandmother. Intelectual Stupidity, there is not money on the App… Wake up and give us something useful. Got it MLB?

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