Sonic's Jewels 7 pulled due to use of Sonic the Hedgehog

Just yesterday, we covered the Marketplace disappearance of an enthusiast's Sega Genesis Sega Gamegear/Sega Master System emulator titled Sonic's Jewels 7. But after getting in touch with the developer, we have new information and insight into what went down.

The author received an email from Microsoft on Feburary 9, 2012 entitled: "Mobile Application Content Infringement Complaint - Sonic's Jewels", trimmed for brevity.

This message is to notify you that Microsoft has received a Content Infringement Complaint (“Complaint”) for your application Sonic's Jewels. A copy of the Complaint is attached for your review.Immediate RequestPlease disable access to the application from the Marketplace within one business day.  If your application is still available for download within this timeframe, Microsoft may remove the application.  Please note that under certain circumstances Microsoft may disable your app immediately without providing you the opportunity to disable it.[...]

Also in the email were two boilerplate options -- either file a DMCA Counter-Notice alleging the take down of the application was in error or actually remove the materials in the complaint. Obviously, the developer pulled the app.

In the attached complaint, filed February 8, 2012, Sega noted (emphasis ours):

Please provide a name (if available) and a description of the work for which you claim intellectual property ownership: The name of the work is the Genesis, a Sega console that was built and sold in the 1990's. Sega has trademarked the term Genesis (on June 9, 1992) and all the hardware that was part of this project. Sega also owns the copyright and IP for Sonic the Hedgehog, one of the game mascots featured on the system.Please provide a name of the other content (if available) and a description of what you claim is infringing about the other content: This title is called "Sonic Jewels" and it is a Genesis emulator for Windows Phone that was not built by Sega or authorized in any way. The emulator uses images of Sonic the Hedgehog that are used illegally.URL: about the use of a name or logo must be accompanied by a copy of the trademark application or registration. We cannot act on any complaint related to a name or logo without a copy of the trademark application or registration. Check this box if the trademark application or registration is included with this complaint: [x]

As we suspected, Sega didn't like the use of the Sonic the Hedgehog imagery throughout the application. Before you arm the neighborhood with molotovs and pitchforks, let's pause and reflect. Our coin ring-loving blue pal belongs to Sega. The complaint here is completely fair. What troubles us, however, is how odd the Windows Phone Marketplace folks operate. For example, the complaint includes trademark registration/application paperwork but only for the mark Genesis. Not the actual trademark in question (Sonic the Hedgehog). Yet the complaint went through with record speed. Also, the complaint form is oddly bare and consists of a single page, unlike the 6-page monstrosity we had to fill out in the Dudley saga.

At any rate, we're working with the developer directly, helping him get through the scary-sounding Marketplace paperwork and procedures. We expect a quick turn around on this one, so stay tuned.

Rafael Rivera