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Autoduel trademarked by inXile - sued by Steve Jackson Games, trademark cancelled

taxalot

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Codex 2013 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
I like how all these journalists pretend to know what the original Autoduel was.
 

udm

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Make the Codex Great Again!
Darkwind is an example of turn-based car combat / racing:


Actually that game looks very inspired by Car Wars / Autoduel. Anyone here ever tried Darkwind?


Been playing it on and off since 2006. Love it but gameplay wise it has been stagnating for many years. Still, it's fun to pop in every now and then and fire car cannons and heavy gats, messing around with physics on the Al's cars - never gets old.

On a related note, Steve Jackson had supposedly taken interest in the IP before, and had wanted to assimilate it as part of Car Wars or some such, but the deal never came through (from what I understand, SJ wanted full control over the direction of the game)
 

Perkel

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Is Jaffe going to be involved with this? Is this going to be an attempt to relaunch that game or a completely different thing using the same title?

Propably cofunded by inxile + kickstarter.

Inxile themselves probably didn't want to make yet another kickstarter to not seem to greedy. Instead they will license it to that studio and take part in developement.

Either way it is win win for them. Inxile portfolio will grow and they will get additional money from project, new studio will have project to work on and possibly next games in future.
If project fails Inxile will loose very little money and they won't have "inxile first failed kickstarter", new studio will shut down and everything will be like this project didn't exist.
 

Infinitron

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Hah. Would they go to court over this? You would think using the Autoduel trademark without SJG's blessing is a bad idea anyway.
 

Norfleet

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I can't really see this going through. Autoduel clearly belongs to SJG. They already have a game by this name. I don't really see how inXile has any real choice but to back down or settle. It is absolutely confusing: When I first saw this, I thought, "Wait, is this the real thing?".
 

Zarniwoop

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Discussing CLASSIFIED TOP SEEKRIT InXile plans again, Codex? Didn't you learn your lesson after you got end of line'd at Gamescom? :smug:
 

LESS T_T

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:necro:

SJG's motion for summary judgment.



Or: http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/ttabvue-91225722-OPP-7.pdf

I just skimmed through it, maybe more knowledgeable Codexer might find some more juicy drama stuff.

Here, the evidence is overwhelming that the products are related and would be marketed in a manner that creates confusion. First, both Opposer’s AUTODUEL products and Applicant’s proposed AUTODUEL game are vehicular combat games in a post-apocalyptic setting.

The parties’ trade channels are also identical and overlapping in fact. Opposer’s mobile games and applications, Dino Hunt® Dice, Zombie Dice®, Ogre® War Room, and Munchkin® Level Counter, are offered or sold through the Apple App Store, the Google Play store, the Microsoft/Windows Phone store. Reed Decl. at ¶26, 31. Likewise, Applicant plans to offer its AUTODUEL game through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Okay...

Further, Applicant made it abundantly clear during discovery that it had no bona fide intent as of its filing date for AUTODUEL for “Providing online downloadable computer and video game programs; Interactive video game programs.” Applicant has produced no documents that pre-date the filing. Applicant had no product plans, business plans, or research at that time. Today, fifteen months after filing the application, Applicant has only vague ideas for a potential computer/video game. Applicant merely liked the name, at least in part because of Opposer’s AUTODUEL computer game, and wanted to keep anyone else from registering it. In other words, Applicant opportunistically sought to reserve potential use of the AUTODUEL mark for when it might, sometime in the future, decide to develop a game with which to use the mark. Applicant cannot establish a bona fide intent at the time of filing.

Applicant’s CEO, Mr. Fargo, clearly understands that Applicant’s choice of AUTODUEL carries with it some inherent value as a result of Opposer’s use of the AUTODUEL mark: “Well, I thought it was a great name and I knew there was a computer game before that. So it certainly wouldn’t hurt. . . . Whenever there’s any requisition value for names, I find it helps to establish yourself in a crowded marketplace.” Fargo Tr. at 92:10-92:23. Mr. Fargo went on to admit that his proposed AUTODUEL game would be “based on” Opposer’s prior AUTODUEL game. Fargo Tr. at 183:19-184:8. The degree to which Applicant plans to base its proposed AUTODUEL game on Opposer’s intellectual property is not absolutely clear, but what is clear is that Mr. Fargo and inXile believed that in using the AUTODUEL mark, they would receive the benefit of prior goodwill in the mark. That prior goodwill belongs to Opposer.

Codex always bring confusion to the world:

3. The confusion started when the account for game news site RPG Codex tweeted on October 22, 2015: “Hell yes” and posted a screenshot of the TSDR page for Applicant’s application. See Ress Decl. at Ex. 30 (SJG000469). The same day, Applicant’s CEO, Brian Fargo, responded: “Once again the Codex is the first on the scene…” Id. at Ex. 31 (SJG000472). The responses to Fargo’s tweet included the following: (1) “@BrianFargo any relation to @SJGames Autoduel?”; (2) “@ryannims @BrianFargo @SJGames Would think so. Another company tried to release an unrelated game and they had to change the name.”; and (3) “@mattaui with the new edition of Car Wars in progress, now’s a great time for a digital version! @BrianFargo @SJGames”; as well as numerous other comments reminiscing about the 1985 AUTODUEL game by Origin Systems under license from Opposer. Id. (SJG000472-474).

The exchange between RPG Codex and Applicant’s CEO triggered a flurry of articles and consumer comments relating Applicant’s proposed use of AUTODUEL on a number of gaming websites. Several of these articles displayed images from Opposer’s games (see, e.g., Ress Decl at Exs. 32, 33, 36, 37, and 38), indicating a belief of sponsorship or association between Applicant’s application and Opposer and its AUTODUEL mark. See Reed Decl. at ¶33, and Exs. 6 (AUTODUEL video game box) and 29 (Car Wars Deluxe Edition box). Further, many of these articles explicitly stated a belief in sponsorship or association by Opposer or otherwise a connection between Applicant’s application and Opposer’s AUTODUEL mark, as detailed in the chart below:

There are also lengthy depositions of Brian Fargo (p.241) and Michael Kaufman. The depositions cover not only the current dispute, but also Fargo's career and dramas (why Fargo left Interplay, dispute between Interplay and SJG regarding Fallout [unfortunately this part is omitted], dispute between Kaufman and SJG regarding the canceled MotorGun).

A (Fargo) I think -- let me think how to phrase it. I don't see that it has been in any use or whether there was any intent to use, from everything I could see. And so that's why I didn't think he has rights to use it.

Q Anything else?

A Letting the lapse -- the mark lapse twice was further evidence of that to me. Saying he was using it, but filing an attempt to use it, was further evidence he wasn't using it. And my feeling is he just wants to bully other people from using it, but not actually use it himself, and wants to put old PDFs up on archival sites in order to claim usage. So that's kind of my fact pattern for why I don't think he has a right to use it.

Q You believe that Steve Jackson Games is trying to bully inXile into not using the name?

A I do.

Q Why do you believe that Steve Jackson Games is trying to bully inXile?

A Same reason he tried to bully Maxx Kaufman from using it, and then went ahead and filed an intent and let it lapse. I don't know why, but it appears he just doesn't want other people to use it, but doesn't want to use it himself.

Q Is that based on any conversations you've actually had with anyone at Steve Jackson Games?

A No, just actions.

Q Those actions being the ones you just testified to?

A That's correct.

Q I just want to make sure there's not anything else you haven't told me?

A No.

Q Do you have any other facts that would support your view that Steve Jackson Games is trying to bully inXile into not using the Autoduel mark, other than what you've just testified about?

A No.

Q When would you say that inXile Autoduel project started?

MR. OINES: Objection. Vague.

BY MR. THOMPSON: Q Do you understand my question?

A Well, I think we started getting ideas generated within 90 or 120 days of the filing. Sort of started the process that I described earlier.

Q The creative process?

A Uh-huh.

Q So within 90 to 120 days of the filing in July 6 of 2015?

A Yeah, roughly.

Q Anything prior to the filing?

A No.

It looks like, after this, Fargo answered about details of inXile's (potential) Autoduel game, but they are redacted.
 
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dispute between Interplay and SJG regarding Fallout [unfortunately this part is omitted],

Is there a way to access that omitted part? I don't mean some kind of guerilla journalism, but will it be disclosed in a few years/decades? In a long run we will at least have something interesting in the archives, but I am curious if we will get it in our lifetimes.


3. The confusion started when the account for game news site RPG Codex tweeted on October 22, 2015: “Hell yes” and posted a screenshot of the TSDR page for Applicant’s application. See Ress Decl. at Ex. 30 (SJG000469). The same day, Applicant’s CEO, Brian Fargo, responded: “Once again the Codex is the first on the scene…” Id. at Ex. 31 (SJG000472). The responses to Fargo’s tweet included the following: (1) “@BrianFargo any relation to @SJGames Autoduel?”; (2) “@ryannims @BrianFargo @SJGames Would think so. Another company tried to release an unrelated game and they had to change the name.”; and (3) “@mattaui with the new edition of Car Wars in progress, now’s a great time for a digital version! @BrianFargo @SJGames”; as well as numerous other comments reminiscing about the 1985 AUTODUEL game by Origin Systems under license from Opposer. Id. (SJG000472-474).

The exchange between RPG Codex and Applicant’s CEO triggered a flurry of articles and consumer comments relating Applicant’s proposed use of AUTODUEL on a number of gaming websites. Several of these articles displayed images from Opposer’s games (see, e.g., Ress Decl at Exs. 32, 33, 36, 37, and 38), indicating a belief of sponsorship or association between Applicant’s application and Opposer and its AUTODUEL mark. See Reed Decl. at ¶33, and Exs. 6 (AUTODUEL video game box) and 29 (Car Wars Deluxe Edition box). Further, many of these articles explicitly stated a belief in sponsorship or association by Opposer or otherwise a connection between Applicant’s application and Opposer’s AUTODUEL mark, as detailed in the chart below:

OMG. Don't say it was me who triggered inXile reactions with the Codex :(
 

LESS T_T

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Is there a way to access that omitted part? I don't mean some kind of guerilla journalism, but will it be disclosed in a few years/decades? In a long run we will at least have something interesting in the archives, but I am curious if we will get it in our lifetimes.

I have no idea.

(For reference, here is the remaining part about the Fallout dispute. p. 282)

Q I want to ask you about the first time you heard of Steve Jackson Games?

A The first time I heard of Steve Jackson Games was in the early '90s when we were going to license the GURPS system for a game called Fallout.

Q Tell me about that.

MR. OINES: Objection. Vague.

BY MR. THOMPSON: Q What was the project that you were working on for Fallout, and what was the nature of your interactions with Steve Jackson Games?

A So I personally wasn't interacting with Steve Jackson Games.

Q Who was?

A I suspect it was Fergus Burkhart, who ran our

[3 pages omitted]

so I tried to talk him out of that, and he wasn't going to sway from his opinion. And so I said that we can't do the product, because the whole product is going to be like this. And so we walked away.

Q Were there any changes to the product as a result of Steve Jackson Games and Interplay no longer entering into that arrangement?

A Well, I wasn't involved in that detail of the game, but I assume that whatever copyrighted material they were going to use from Steve Jackson, they got rid of that and came up with something new.

(Yeah, Fergus Burkhart.)
 

Infinitron

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That PDF contains a screenshot of somebody calling me "hi jew" in the Rock Paper Shotgun comments, ffs
 
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Infinitron

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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Metro MRY any other lawyers in the crowd, given what you see here: http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?qs=86702458

What's the timeline on this dispute? According to the trial dates document sent back in January, it appears that there will be a "Defendant's 30-day Trial Period" next month. Will the trademark appeals board arrive at a verdict after that?
 

vonAchdorf

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The Codex tweet and Fargo's reply made it into the PDF (p. 126). Tweeting is serious business.
 

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