Mobile games developer Jordan Maron has said he is changing the name of his next game following a legal threat from Bethesda owner ZeniMax.
Maron, better known as YouTube personality Captain Sparklez, is currently developing a title that has until now been known as Fortress Fallout. ZeniMax, however, is unhappy about his use of the term ‘Fallout' – not least because it seems likely the company could be announcing Fallout 4 at E3.
Bethesda owns a number of valid trade and service marks associated with the Fallout properties that are registered throughout the world,” a letter from ZeniMax said.
It has come to our attention that you have filed a Federal trademark application for the mark Fortress Fallout and intend to develop and distribute computer game software and online computer games under the Fortress Fallout mark. We believe that such use or proposed use infringes on Bethesda's trade and service marks.
In light of the above, we trust you understand the basis for our concerns. In order to remedy the situation, we ask that you immediately expressly abandon the application for Fortress Fallout and cease any and all current or proposed uses of any mark incorporating the term Fallout. We anticipate and expect your full cooperation in bringing this matter to a swift conclusion.”
In a video, posted below, Maron said he will begrudgingly adhere to the demands, although he disagrees with the claim on principal.
We've chatted with out lawyers and we either have the option to give them a letter back saying we do not believe that we are infringing upon your trade mark and there is no confusion between our game and your game, or we can elect to change it,” he said.
Our lawyers said that Bethesda is a notoriously litigious company meaning they do not hesitate to file a lawsuit against people they feel are infringing upon their trade mark, and obviously they have lots of money and resources at their disposal that I and my partner don't really have at the moment.
Essentially we're being strong-armed to change our name which is unfortunate as I don't fell there is any confusion. Congratulations Bethesda, you won. You beat us. You exercised your might and showed us who's boss.”
Fortress Fallout's name was chosen by the community, and Maron says he will once again turn to the community to choose a new title.
In 2012 Zenimax went after Mojang over its game Scrolls, alleging that it infringed upon its Elder Scrolls trademarks. In the end that case was settled, with Mojang able to continue using the name on the agreement that Zenimax got the trademark and Mojang wouldn't launch an Elder Scrolls competitor using the name.