How a Cypriot company, Apella Games, beat Apple.
Interview with Yanna Raevskaya, Head of Legal at Prospectacy Ltd who handled the case
– Our customer, APELLA GAMES LTD is a limited liability company established and operating in accordance with Cypriot law. The company operates in the video game industry and creates free-to-play (F2P) games for PC and consoles. Apella Games was founded in 2020. In other words, it is a new company that is still in its first steps. ( All details about the company are posted on its website at the email address )
How many people does Apella employ?
– Despite the fact that it is a start-up company, Apella has nevertheless managed to grow in a short period of time and today employs around 40 experienced and passionate professionals in the video game industry, who believe in the company’s purpose and what it stands for.
It is worth noting that the founders of the company are Greek Cypriots. It is obvious that the national origin of the founders of the company played an important role in the choice of the brand name – Apella Games…
You mean the word Apella…
– Certainly. As you know the word “Apella” has its origins in ancient Greece and refers to the popular assembly in the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta, which corresponded to the church in most other Greek states. Every Spartan male full citizen who had completed his thirtieth year was entitled to attend the assemblies, which, according to the decree of Lycurgus, must be held at the hour of the full moon within the limits of Sparta.
And let’s go to the big topic. How did the ‘confrontation’ with Apple come about…
– It all started when Apple Inc. filed a Notice of Opposition against the EU trademark application and the registration of the word mark “APELLA GAMES” citing the likelihood of confusion and alleging that the company is trying to take unfair advantage of the well-known Apple brand. Which, of course, does not correspond to reality, since the origin of Apella’s name was completely different.
I imagine the decision to ‘break up’ with Apple was a difficult one, wasn’t it?
– Despite the fact that our company Prospectacy Ltd specializes and focuses on intellectual property issues as well as legal support for online businesses, both in Cyprus and abroad, this case was nevertheless treated with great care. After all, we had in front of us a globally recognized brand with unlimited resources. Our legal team spent a lot of time on the case and we tried to focus on researching every available online case launched by Apple against other trademarks in the EUIPO database. However, it should be noted that one of the reasons why we decided to go ahead and respond to the complaint was the fact that at the initial stage of the process, Apple showed no willingness to negotiate to find a mutually acceptable solution, as it rejected all the arguments, the justification and the positions that were in the application for registration of the specific trademark that we submitted to the EUIPO.
– Apple has 2 months from the date of the decision to file an appeal. For our part, we have already filed a trademark application for Apella’s first game – Rite of Titans, which will be released soon on Steam.