One of the largest digital rights groups in the United States is taking action to defend boffer LARPers and their right to criticize a soft-tip arrow company who is engaged in a legal battle with a LARP arrow manufacturer.
Last year LARP arrow manufacturer Jordan Gwyther was contacted about possible patent infringement of his product, leading him to start a successful GoFundMe page asking LARPers to help him defend LARP archery. “THis Company says that the Arrows infringe on ‘Archery Tag’,” Gwyther says in his video, “Which they claim to have invented, and which we have been using for years and years.”
Global Archery, however, released a statement that this video is entirely misleading and that Global Archery is not attempting to infringe on arrows used by LARPs such as Dagorhir and Darkon in any way. “The patents-in-suit make up a very small amount of the issues that led up to Global filing the original lawsuit (only 2 of 9 counts),” Global said in its release on Febraury 15. “As such, Global believes that characterizing or suggesting that the lawsuit is one in which Global is attempting to assert patent rights to any and all ‘Larp Arrows’ is extremely misleading as this is not the case.”
Global further expanded with assertions that Gwyther was attempting to use Global Archery’s trademarks without their permission in order to sell more of his LARP arrows online.
Global contends that Mr. Gwyther was using Global’s registered “Archery Tag®” trademarks to market and promote his competing arrows. In addition, Global contends that Mr. Gwyther was making false and misleading statements to consumers in connection with the sale of his arrows and was committing acts of tortious interference with Global’s business relationships. Specifically, Global received communications from its customers that Mr. Gwyther was targeting Global’s customers seeking to induce them to do business with Mr. Gwyther in favor of the established business relationship with Global.
Yesterday, Global Archery filed a motion to silence Gwyther’s attempts to mislead the public, but this action only led to further consternation from the LARP community. It also attracted the attention of digital rights groups: In a statement released Thursday on their web site, the Electronic Frontier Foundation stated that it had filed an Amicuss Curae brief with the U.S. Patent office in defense of the First Amendment.
Our amicus brief explains that Global Archery’s proposed injunction is an unconstitutional prior restraint. The First Amendment requires an extraordinary showing before a court can issue a forward-looking order silencing speech.
Requests for comment from Mr. Gwyther or Global Archery were not returned.
Featured Image by Oliver Facey
Other Photos by Tessa DaVerona