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The Wonder Boy Trademark
Post Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:29 am
With the up coming games Monster Boy, and Bock's remake of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, the question has been asked by many if either of these games will be allowed by Sega to use the Wonder Boy name.

Both of these titles are licensed by LAT Corporation who now hold the intellectual property rights to the Wonder Boy series, after Westone declared bankruptcy. Sega however owns the Trademark for the name Wonder Boy.

In a previous interview with Thomas Kern from FDG Entertainment the publisher for Monster Boy, Kern stated that Sega was aware of the project and they were going to show them the game later in development, and the Wonder Boy name was a possibility. However in a recent post on the Monster Boy blog Kern said that it was unlikely they would get the Wonder Boy name as Sega doesn't have the Trademark registered world wide anymore.

This prompted me to look into the current state of the Wonder Boy trademark and what I found was quite interesting.

Currently Sega only holds the Wonder Boy Trademark in Japan for the appropriate class (9). However there is an internationally registered Trademark for Wonder Boy class (9), applied for by Cyberfront Korea Corporation. The included countries are Australia, China, Germany, Spain, France, United Kingdom, USA and Korea. Notably it excludes Japan, which is held by Sega.

There are also several Korean Trademarks also applied for by Cyberfront Korea Corporation for Wonder Boy: Monster Land, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Wonder Boy in Monster World, Wonder Boy V - Monster World III, and Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap.

All of these Trademarks were applied for in the later half of 2015, and most of them are still pending, but are in the final stages before they become active.

I'm am still trying to process what is happening here. Did Cyberfront strike up a deal with LAT Corporation to port the entire series, or is there some arrangement with Sega. Either way it appears as though Cyberfront is taking over the Wonder Boy trademark and we should expect to see some sort of world wide release from them.

Any thoughts on this?
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:11 pm
No thoughts so far, just wanted to thank you for all this information :)
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:12 pm
If you wish to have a look at the details yourself go to:

http://www.wipo.int/branddb/en/

Search for Wonder Boy in the Text field, and in the Class tab you can also enter 9 in the Goods/Services Class(Nice) field.

For the complete details of the International Trademark go to:

http://www.wipo.int/romarin/search.xhtml

Click on the Advanced tab and search for Wonder Boy in the main field.

A couple of translations:

(주) 사이버프론트코리아 - Ltd. Korea Cyber Front
株式会社セガ- Sega Corporation
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:36 pm
Great info
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 2:16 pm
Thank you Logbomber, well done! =)

Only time will bring us the answers we are looking for. But it would be great if Wonder Boy gets a complete revival, especially if Monster Boy becomes Wonder Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. Let´s cross the fingers!
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:06 pm
Last edited by Logbomber on Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
What I hadn't realized until now is Shinji Fujiwara from LAT Corporation is the founder of CyberFront Corporation. I'm not sure exactly how it all fits together, as Fujiwara is no longer involved with CyberFront, but there seems to be some sort of connection, probably some sort of deal negotiated by Fujiwara.
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:58 pm
CyberFront? Shinji Fujiwara?

I hope all the trademark-related stuff is fully "adequate" this time
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:23 pm
It seems CyberFront Korea is a former subsidiary of Cyberfront Corporation. I am assuming that some sort of arrangement has been made between LAT and CyberFront Korea through Fujiwara. One thing is for sure, CyberFront Korea has registered the Wonder Boy trademark in multiple countries.

I am sure Yosuke Okunari was involved with gaining permission for the Dragon's Trap project to use the Wonder Boy name in Japan.
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:39 pm
Logbomber wrote
I am sure Yosuke Okunari was involved with gaining permission for the Dragon's Trap project to use the Wonder Boy name in Japan.


Is it really using the Wonder Boy name in Japan? Because this particular game never used it at all. It was released there as "Monster World II".

How about the "Monster World" name? Is it affected by the same legal trouble of the "Wonder Boy" name? Because I believe Sega had the rights of that specific name too.
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:25 pm
That is a good point.

Wonder Boy is still a trademarked name held by Sega in Japan, so I assume they would still need permission to release the game in Japan, unless they change the name.

I don't really know how it works with downloadable games though. Really I could be way off with some of these conclusions.

Another point, is that whatever it is that is going on with CyberFront Korea, it is not because of the Dragon's Trap remake. Something else is going on, where it looks like they are planning a world wide release (excluding Japan) of the series on mobile devices.
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Post Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:46 am
I remember, as a kid, being confused about how there could be Wonder Boy on the SMS and also Hudson's Adventure Island, which was obviously the same game with a different character and title. Although I've gained a little bit more understanding of this unusual licensing situation over the years, in some strange way it's reassuring that it continues to be a baffling, mysterious issue even now. It's like a zen koan, trying to contemplate the vagaries of the Wonder Boy franchise.
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Post Posted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:54 pm
Comments for the trademark from CyberFront Korea:

Quote
Downloadable smart phone application (software); downloadable mobile game software; recorded game software for mobile; smart phone application (software); computer game software for use on mobile and cellular phones


By comparison, look up something like Fantasy Zone:

Quote

28
COMPUTER GAME PROGRAM


Classification 28 is for "Games, Toys, Sports Equipment"

seems the CyberKorea Front trademark is specifically for cell phone apps.
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Post Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:44 pm
Sorry for "rising" the topic "from the grave", but I was thinking about the Westone Bit Entertainment bankrupt and the Wonder Boy / Monster World Trademark, and I don't think it's fair to split the content into a separated topic.

I'm still a bit confused to see the Wonder Boy / Monster World ownership being so fragmented... I saw someplaces telling about Ryuichi Nichizawa sold the Westone's IPs to LAT in a kind of friendly share... If it's true, it's like Ryuichi is the biological father of his childrens, and leave them under the LAT's guardianship, but keeping contact with them and taking them to a walk sometimes.

I confused too about the Monster Boy's team statement about the game is called this way and not Monster World V.


MonsterBoyBlog wrote
Then why don't you name it Wonder Boy in Monster World V?
The Wonder Boy series has an extreme title fragmentation depending on which country it was released. In Japan it was called Monster World, in Brazil they named it Turma da Mônica em o Resgate, based on a comic book series character. The IP for the title Monster World isn't owned by SEGA anymore and that made it difficult to bring all together again. Monster Boy is mostly based on the Sega Genesis series which means it's closest to the original and wide spread Monster World naming of the series. In the end, Monster Boy was the most elegant solution for us. We could secure this IP for worldwide use now and it's the next best thing to the original name.



I'll go a little off the topic just to note... The Monica's Gang games was just a localization for the game to sell better in Brazil than if the game was release as the Wonder Boy / Monster World game, even when the original Wonder Boy was released in Brazil in its original form. That's no problem to release a Monster World game with this brand in Brazil today, once it's just a Tec Toy's localization for local distribution for that time. Even so, at this momment, any fan of Monica's game know about the localization and the existence and power of the Monster World brand, and the original games already reached the present brazilian digital market as Wonder Boy / Monster World games, and not as Monica's games.

Back to the topic... If what FDG Entertaiment and Game Atelier said is the true, Sega don't hold the rights for the brand anymore. So, how Sega still sells the old Monster World games worldwide, like the Sega Vintage Collection: Monster World for Xbox PlayStation 3 and 360 (and Xbox One via X360's retrocompatibility), and Steam too? Maybe it's like the Toe Jam & Earl case, where Sega own the code of the games, and they still have the rights to sell the original games, but they can't create new games using the franchise's brand because they don't own the brand, just the games they financed to produce.

And about the CFK Co., Ltd., who produced the Wonder Boy Remake? What is their envolviment with the trademark issue? They acquiring part of the ownership, or they just paid to use the license for LAT to remake the first game?

Finnally, what happened with other Westone games, like Riot City, Aurail, the unreleased Tokei Jikake no Aquario (Aquario of the Clockwork), and Hudson-related (now Konami-related) games, like Adventure Island series and Blood Gear, or even the commercial existence of the company's brand, Westone Bit Entertainment (for example, to use the company's brand to title a collection of Westone classic games)? There's some public position of Nishizawa-san for the old Westone fans?

I think it could be more convenient if Sega could have acquired the Westone's IPs at the bankrupt time, but I do not know if it could be the better option for Nishizawa-san, once he stills strongly connected with the Monster World brand thanks to the friendly negotiation with LAT...
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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:38 am
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The IP for the title Monster World


That statement doesn't make sense, "Monster World" as a title is a trademark not an IP. The trademark probably wasn't renewed by Sega in all regions, that's correct. It's probably frequent to let trademark elapse regionally for some properties. Sega could probably make a title called "Monster World" and claim the trademark again if they really wanted to.

Most of the IP were owned by Westone, not Sega.

CFK probably just took a licence from LAT to make that one title, just like we did.

With all respect for Monster Boy (I know those guys well) the only non-bullshit reason why their game isn't called "Wonder Boy" is that they didn't push for that to happen. And probably this was strategically the _best_ thing to do, creating a new title they want to keep future control on it and not put Sega in the loop, it makes perfect sense, and it's also logistically easier, that's all. If they really wanted to call it Wonder Boy they probably could have pushed for that.
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:19 pm
Bock wrote

Most of the IP were owned by Westone, not Sega.

Indeed. I think it was a few years ago that Westone revealed that when Hudson ported the WB games to non-Sega hardware, it was Hudson's own decision to change the stuff they did and not legal issues with Sega forcing them.
(well, Hudson and I would presume any other more obscure ports I'm forgetting like Jaleco's "Saiyuki World" (Monster Land) for the Famicom)
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:44 pm
First, I must apologise so late reply.

Second, thanks for your answers, Bock. I do not expect less from you. About the Monster Boy do not be called Monster World V is something I was having the same idea: To do not involve Sega in this play.

Of course I would love to see a Monster World game being called Monster World since the game's title... But no problem. I'll buy it and play it anyway, since when it was the Flying Hamster II. :D
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Post Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:12 pm
KingMike wrote
Bock wrote

Most of the IP were owned by Westone, not Sega.

Indeed. I think it was a few years ago that Westone revealed that when Hudson ported the WB games to non-Sega hardware, it was Hudson's own decision to change the stuff they did and not legal issues with Sega forcing them.
(well, Hudson and I would presume any other more obscure ports I'm forgetting like Jaleco's "Saiyuki World" (Monster Land) for the Famicom)


https://www.reddit.com/r/NintendoSwitch/comments/67979l/we_are_lizardcube_dotemu_developers_of_wonder_boy/dgouboy/
Bock wrote
The game was created by Westone who sold the game to both Sega and Hudson Soft. Sega owned the "Wonder Boy" name rights to Hudson Soft used different names. We didn't try to chase the Hudson licenses (now owned Konami).


So... all that SEGA owned (and now doesn't) was the "Wonder Boy" trademark and not the characters or anything else, right?
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:23 am
ICEknight wrote
So... all that SEGA owned (and now doesn't) was the "Wonder Boy" trademark and not the characters or anything else, right?


This was the assumption for everyone (them included) for a while but it is currently being challenged as seemingly forgotten contracts/documents have been uncovered in the recent years. Hence the trouble with removing WB games from the Switch Sega Ages compilation and Sam Dyer's book because this is still very much in limbo presently.
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Post Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:17 pm
Sounds like the situation of an RPG franchise called Metal Max which had to change its name for two sequels as a legal precaution after its original publisher went out of business and they didn't know if it was them or the developer who owned the game.
I suppose there are other series caught up in similar issues.
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