It seems that the Finnish gaming monopoly, RAY, is the latest in the game of playing the big bad wolf who doesn’t want to play nice. Finnish Helsingin Sanomat reports that they are ready to sue an iPhone app maker Elias Pietilä, for creating a game of the similar concept from one of the oldest coin games in Finland, Pajatso. Elias Pietilä calles his version of the game Pajatzo.
RAY (or the Finnish Slotmachine Association) has referred to the trademark law, law regarding good business practices (laxly translated) as well as the ever-so-famous copyright law. The first odd issue that puts the whole case into perspective is that RAY does not own the trademark to Pajatso, the original game concept.
Secondly, the two other laws RAY is referring to are equally questionable. As many know, copyright law does not work well with regards to applications. Elias Pietilä has written the code to the game fully by himself. The law regarding good business practices states refers to taking advantage of the other brand’s goodwill for the better of one’s own business. Pietilä clearly states at the start of the application that the game is created by him, as seen in the picture below.
RAY spokesperson, Janne Peräkylä (the chief of money gaming), is referring to the goodwill value among the consumers that their game has created. “The game is of marginal importance to us in monetary terms, but the brand is extremely important to us. On an annual level the game generates 5 million euros in revenue”, states Peräkylä. Pietilä himself has made little over 2000 euros from the game sales in iTunes app store. Pietilä has offered the sale of the product to RAY, but there haven’t been any negotiations regarding it.
In my opinion, this shows yet again, extremely poor understanding of PR for the older and larger companies. In the online age, you’ll get slapped big time immediately if you mess up with a situation like this. I’m afraid the Finnish RAY won’t be the last one.
Update: Thanks to @ollyf on Twitter, we’re adding the link to the app store for Pajatzo.