“New York Times” argues with German puzzle distributor over “Wordle”

“New York Times” argues with German puzzle distributor over “Wordle”

Dhe District Court of Düsseldorf has to rule on the rights to the word mark “Wordle” in a dispute between the “New York Times” and the German puzzle producer Stefan Heine. The civil case opened on Monday. The “New York Times”, which runs a large puzzle site and owns the rights to the popular letter game, accuses the German puzzle distributor of having secured the German trademark rights to “Wordle” in order to keep them out of the German market. It is an inadmissible “bad faith trademark application”. She wants the Hamburger Heine to be banned from using the brand by means of a temporary injunction. The court wants to announce a decision on March 1st.

The US newspaper had acquired all the rights to the game for $1.2 million from inventor Josh Wardle, Monday’s hearing revealed. The online guessing game Wordle has become a worldwide success and is played by millions of people every day. The problem: Heine and the US publisher secured the trademark rights for Wordle on the same day, February 1, 2022.

The riddle maker Stefan Heine denies the allegation of the “New York Times” to have secured the German trademark rights in bad faith. “I registered the Wordle trademark on February 1, 2022 and therefore have the right to use the mark.” According to the presiding judge Vera Drees, the court does not yet have its own position on the matter.

Hamburg-based Stefan Heine became known to a broader public in 2005 at the latest with the spread of “Sudokus”.


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