Title Dispute: INGENIOUS is followed by AXIO
World renowned game designer Dr. Reiner Knizia, a member of the Game Designers Association, informed us that he will continue the family of games known by titles such as EINFACH GENIAL or INGENIOUS, under the new brand name AXIO. This is motivated by a legal dispute with Sophisticated Games in England, the licensor of some of his publishing rights, who have registered the former title for themselves and from whom Kosmos, and its software publisher USM, have sublicensed the German language rights.
The dispute mainly arises from Sophisticated Games’ demands towards the designer to pay licence fees if he wanted to use the former title in publishing forms which are not covered by their licence agreement. Dr. Reiner Knizia perceives this demand as an “immoral and business damaging reversal of the usual Licensor-Licensee relationship”. He strictly rejects any licence payments to his publisher in relation to the use of his own game.
The Game Designers Association (SAZ) equally condemns such demands. Such examples highlight the importance for authors to include respective clauses in their licence agreements. The title of a game – irrespective of whether it originates from the designer or from the publisher – should always be, and remain, an integral part of the game, as long as the title is not based on third-party rights (e.g. movie, book or character licences) or part of a series title of the publisher. This is particularly important if the publisher only licences partial publishing rights – restricted by territory or publishing form.
The change of the brand name will be accompanied by the addition of a new game to the family. The new flagship game of the AXIO series will be published by Pegasus Spiele and will be exhibited for the first time on the Nuremberg Toy Fair.
Some background information about this matter on BGG by W. Eric Martin