Skee-Ball and Brewskee-Ball in legal battle over trademarked name
Apparently there's a new controversy brewing, and a very serious one at that. Ready for it? It's about Skee-Ball.
You know, your favorite childhood arcade game of rolling the ball and trying to get it in a hole at the end of the runway?
SANTA CRUZ, CA - JULY 29: A painting on the facade of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk advertises a Skee-Ball game on July 29, 2007 in Santa Cruz, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 17: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers plays skeeball during a visit to the MLB Fan Cave on June 17, 2013 at Broadway and 4th Street in New York City. (Photo by Paige Calamari/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 12: Retired baseball player David Eckstein plays a game of Skee-Ball at the MLB Fan Cave October 12, 2012 at Broadway and 4th Street in New York City. (Photo by Josh Haunschild/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Steve Allen and wife Jayne Meadows at Rockaway Playland with his three sons by a previous marriage, Aug. 25, 1954 in New York. Steve Jr., 10, Brian, 7, and David, 4, play skee ball on the boardwalk. (AP Photo/Ed Ford)
Sisters from the Sisters of Charity Orphans' Home cue up during an outing at Palisades Amusement Park, Palisades, N.J., July 13, 1967. From left, they are: Sister Michael, Sister Edmund and Sister Marguerite. They were there helping to entertain more than 500 orphans and underprivileged children from New York. (AP Photo)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: Chris Davis #19 of the Baltimore Orioles plays a game of skeeball at the MLB Fan Cave on Broadway and 4th in New York, New York on Friday, April 12, 2013. (Photo by Thomas Levinson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 8: Retired baseball player Dale Murphy plays a game of Skee-Ball at the MLB Fan Cave October 8, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Josh Haunschild/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Derek Holland and Justin Grimm of the Texas Rangers play skee-ball as the cave dwellers look on at the MLB Fan Cave on June 25, 2013 at Broadway and 4th Street in New York City. (Photo by Paige Calamari/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Savannah Guthrie plays skeeball during a promotional segment for the animated film "Turbo" on NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
So here's where there's an issue. According to Fox News: "There's a league called Brewskee-Ball where people drink beer while playing Skee-Ball. ... The people behind Skee-Ball aren't happy about their trademark named being used."
In 2005, the brains behind Brewskee-Ball wanted to "do it big," so they say they arranged a meeting with the CEO of Skee-Ball Inc. and told him about their vision.
"I told him, 'We kinda have this silly name for the league. It's called Brewskee-Ball.' He kinda chuckled a bit, shook my hand and said 'Go for it.'"
And they did. They started leagues all across the country. They even started national championships! But now Skee-Ball doesn't seem to be on board.
Fox News legal analyst Arthur Aidala says: "They don't want people going to the bar, playing Skee-Ball, drinking and then driving and killing someone. Then the cover of the New York Post is going to be 'Skee-Death.'"
Skee-Ball filed a lawsuit accusing the Brewskee-Ball creators of copyright infringement. In response, Brewskee-Ball filed a lawsuit arguing that Skee-Ball's trademark should be canceled because it's become generic.
In fact, many products that began as brand names have now become generic nouns. A trademark lawyer tells NPR aspirin, elevator and cellophane are just a few examples of this.
He says: "The law says that if you basically don't protect the trademark, at some point it will become a generic term. It will become free for anybody to use."
Brewskee-Ball has launched an online fundraising campaign to help pay for its legal fees. The league has also set up a campaign called "Skee The People" to generate support.
Looks like the phrase "It's just a game" doesn't apply here.