Brewskee-Ball® National Skee-Ball League Stands Up to Game Manufacturer to Defend Its Right to Use the Word “Skee-Ball”
BROOKLYN, NY – May 06, 2014 – “There’s no other way to say skee-ball except ‘skee-ball,’” said Eric Pavony, founder and ‘Skee.E.O.’ of the Brewskee-Ball skee-ball league. “That’s the only way people know how to refer to the game.”
Yet in 2011, Skee-Ball, Inc. (SBI), a manufacturer of skee-ball machines, sued Full Circle United, LLC, organizer of the Brewskee-Ball league, for trademark infringement. The suit was filed six years after SBI told league founders that they were free to start a skee-ball league and call it Brewskee-Ball in 2005.
After nearly three years and multiple attempts at an amicable resolution, the betrayed league is defending its ground, refusing to allow SBI to dismantle everything the league has built, and obstruct the league’s future plans by drowning its founders in legal costs.
Brewskee-Ball is now turning to its players and the public. Today, Brewskee-Ball launched a crowdfunding campaign called “Skee The People” on RocketHub at www.rockethub.com/skeethepeople. The campaign aims to raise $100,000 to support Brewskee-Ball’s defense against the baseless trademark lawsuit filed by SBI, and to prove that “skee-ball” is a generic term that anyone has the right to use freely.
The league has retained Fish & Richardson, P.C. one of the nation’s leading trademark firms.
“Just like baseball and basketball, skee-ball is the name of a sporting game. When a trademark becomes synonymous with the thing it identifies, it’s generic. This is the word ‘skee-ball,’” said John T. Johnson, a principal at Fish & Richardson. “The Kleenex® trademark identifies the source of a particular facial tissue, and the Q-tips® trademark identifies the source of a certain cotton swab,” adds Fish principal Kristen McCallion. “Skee-ball does not identify any particular source. It merely identifies the game of skee-ball.”
“We’re skee-ball’s biggest fans. After getting the go-ahead from the CEO himself, we put everything we had into our dream of revolutionizing the game of skee-ball,” said Pavony. “We simply do not understand why SBI wants us to stop growing and promoting the game of skee-ball, when all of our efforts actually support the game of skee-ball. If SBI is allowed to maintain its outdated trademark registration for the generic word skee-ball, it will continue to misappropriate this generic word for its exclusive use, and preclude Brewskee-Ball, and anyone, from referring to skee-ball by the common, generic word for the game – skee-ball.”
“This is a cliché story of a big company trying to steamroll over the little guy because it thinks it can,” added Pavony. “It doesn’t matter that the big company has a flimsy case. It wants the little guy to struggle with heavy legal bills and ultimately cave. That’s not how it works in 2014. David had a slingshot, we have social media and crowdfunding.”
“Nobody has done more to develop skee-ball as a sport and a bar game than Eric and this league,” said Amy Spencer, who has rolled in the Austin chapter of Brewskee-Ball for 17 ‘skeesons.’ “We’re a family and we’re ready to do whatever it takes to keep the good times rolling.”
On Tuesday, May 6 at 11 p.m. EST, there will be a simultaneous ‘Skee The People’ Toast in all Brewskee-Ball league bars across the country, signifying the launch of the crowdfunding campaign. The league invites all supporters to join the event live. Brewskee-Ball players and friends will gather at these venues: Full Circle Bar (Brooklyn, NY), The Scoot Inn (Austin, TX), Buckshot Bar (San Francisco, CA), Five Star Tavern (Wilmington, NC).
For more information on Brewskee-Ball and its “Skee the People” campaign or to donate to their legal defense fund, please visit www.skeethepeople.com.