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

Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
4,235
A Yeah, we just recently opened an office in
New Orleans in December, I believe
.

Already opened.


Q Are some of these games on this list of 10,
that can you remember off the top of your head, are they
remakes of earlier games?
MR. OINES: Objection. Vague.
BY MR. THOMPSON:
Q Do you understand my question?
A Yeah, but "remake," I don't know how to use
that in this context exactly. So I don't know. What's
the definition of a "remake"?

Q Let me try to ask it a different way. Are
there titles in this list of 10 that are based on titles
of earlier games?
A Well, when you say "based on," they might have
shared the same name, but weren't "based on." So I'm
not trying to be difficult, but if you can -- I don't
know how to answer it, when you say "based on."
So in the particular case of Wasteland, that is
based on -- our Wasteland 2 is based on Wasteland.
Bard's Tale was trademark only. So it was not based on
the other game. I'm not sure how to --

Q So the title was the same, but you're saying it
was not based on the earlier game?
A No. We talk about spiritual sequels sometimes,
but I don't know whether "based on" is the right word or
not. I'm not sure if that's the right word.

Q And I've seen your reference in some of your
publications about spiritual sequels. What do you mean
by that?
A Well, when we say "spiritual sequel," what we
mean is that we are making a game that's usually in the
genre or maybe touches some of the sensibility points.
For example, if it was a comedy, we'd say it's a comedy,
right? But it in no way shares any copyright material
from the first one.

Q So which of these games would you characterize
as being a spiritual successor to earlier games?
A Torment. Torment, yeah.
Q How would you describe these other games, like
The Bard's Tale, Wasteland, and the Demon's Forge and
Choplifter, in terms of use of, at least, a title that
was used in an earlier game?
MR. OINES: Objection. Vague.
THE WITNESS: Well, The Bard's Tale was just a
different kind of game. We did a comedy in that
particular case. So we didn't describe it as a
spiritual sequel. It was just a title that shared the
same name.
Wasteland, that was a sequel. I had use to the
copyright from Electronic Arts, so this was a straight
on sequel. The Demon's Forge had nothing to do with the
original game. Name only.
And Choplifter, was just -- we didn't call it a
spiritual sequel, because flying helicopters around is
not -- it's so general and been done a thousand times
that we didn't feel the need to really say that. So it
was a Choplifter game.
The original was flying around helicopters,
ours was too, but we did not describe it as a spiritual
sequel. It was, what it was. It's like car racing or
something.

This is pure gold.


Q Is your title CEO at inXile?
A Yes, also leader in inXile.
Q Right, I think I saw that somewhere, which was
a play on your time, I think, of leaving Interplay?
Exactly, so you might see that as my title from
time to time.

Q So I'll refer to you in the depo as "CEO," if
that's okay?
A That's fine.

:)

A I find that if I like a name, I try to file for
it quickly because I've seen things in the past where
you come up with a great name and somebody
simultaneously files for it at the same time or right
before you.

Q So you wanted to make sure nobody else tried to
file before you filed?
A Yes.
Q Did you also choose the name "Autoduel" because
of the reference to the earlier 1985 game?
A Well, I thought it was a great name and I knew
there was a computer game before that. So it certainly
wouldn't hurt. But I think that the name itself would
be number 1.

Q When you say it wouldn't hurt, what do you mean
by that?
A Whenever there's any requisition value for
names, I find that it helps to establish yourself in a
crowded marketplace.

Q The crowded marketplace being your market for
developing games for sale?
A The game industry, yeah.
Q Do you recall whether inXile did any kind of
clearance search for the

:)

Q It looks like your response is, "I already have
them super excited about working on the next thing."
You say, "Listen, they love this, but they've
been on it for three and a half years."
A Yep.
Q What project are you referring to there?
A Torment.
Q That's not Autoduel?
A No.
Q "They've been writing it, thinking about it,
talking about it. That's one thing you'll notice here.
We don't have handles for you to talk to. You talk to
me, to the writers, the producers. We don't have PR and
marketing in between us, because we are right there on
the nub and we love talking about what we do."
A What a great quote.
Q I agree. I like it as well.
A Good.

Buahaha!

Q Something completely new?
A That's right.
Q "People say you're doing Torment, Wasteland,
Bard's Tale, but I do want to do original things as
well. The fact is, I'm slowly rebuilding my cachet of
belief and support, 'What have you done for me lately?'"
A I just said that. I'm on point.
Q The next paragraph says, "The more we establish
inXile's name with wonderful products, people will trust
us to do something brand new. I think I need recent
role-playing success to be able to build that trust."
Do you see that?
A Yes.
Q So what you're talking about there, my
understanding with this clarification, is that at some
point you would like to do original games that aren't
remakes of any old games?
A Yeah. It's important to have a mixture
They are few dozens of pages cut taking about Fallout or late Interplay days. They ought to be interesting.
Many of the cut pages are about concepts for inXile Autoduel game. I guess we will get it under a different name, which is hardly a problem for him because it is stated the game was meant to be completely original. inXile don't want license for Autoduel.

I don't understand this. "Frank" :) Fargo is asked about all details of his professional life since 80s. Why?
 

Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
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Messages
97,442
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
Jedi Master Radek It's not unheard of for Americans to go by their middle names for their entire lives. Parents give the kid two names, figure out later on they like the middle one more and use it exclusively, the "real" name ends up becoming vestigial.
 
Joined
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Messages
1,853,713
Location
Belém do Pará, Império do Brasil
Here in Brazil people generally go by their first name, a nickname or their second name if someone else in the area has the first one, too.

Also, did I just see RPGCodex quoted in court?! Not the way I thought we would belong in a courtroom. Bonus points for "hi, jew"

Enviado de meu SM-G3502T usando Tapatalk
 

Crooked Bee

(no longer) a wide-wandering bee
Patron
Joined
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Messages
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In quarantine
Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Fargo is asked about all details of his professional life since 80s. Why?

I'm not really knowledgeable about the US law or court practice, but my guess would be that the purpose of talking about Fargo's background is to establish his personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness, and to make sure he is qualified to be doing what he is doing (and talking about what he is talking about). Just my guess though; I'm sure someone like MRY would know better.
 

Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
97,442
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
I'm not really that interested in Autoduel, but I wonder whether Fargo's interest in it back in 2015 directly led to Wasteland 3's prominent inclusion of vehicles and vehicle combat.
 

LESS T_T

Arcane
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
13,582
Codex 2014
:necro:

Now inXile's motion for summary judgement: http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/ttabvue-91225722-OPP-15.pdf

But why, it's a scanned PDF.

Skimmed a bit: at page 13, they were indeed thinking about Autoduel as a mobile game. Several proposals were discussed including one by an outside studio called Pixel Dash Studios, a pitch by BrotherNone, and an idea to includes indie developers.

Someone more patient enough to read through might find more juicy stuff, but, like SJG's motion, it seems many of potentially interesting bits are confidential and redacted.
 

Infinitron

I post news
Staff Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
97,442
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
Page 14:

Shortly after the release of Torment, Mr. Fargo formally assigned Mr. Daily as the Producer of Autoduel at inXile. As Producer, Mr. Daily will gather and work with the team at inXile to strategize, design and develop the Autoduel game. inXile intended on July 23, 2015 to use "Autoduel" for its game, and still intends to use it.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2015
Messages
66
Oh. I thought it was a thing in the vein of "Active Turn Battle" from Final Fantasy or some shit like that. Reality is less interesting though.
 

LESS T_T

Arcane
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
13,582
Codex 2014
"08/04/2017 P MOT FOR SUMMARY JGT GRANTED IN PART": http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/ttabvue-91225722-OPP-18.pdf

If I read it right the judges found "genuine disputes of material fact" (does SJG has priority on the trademark?; will inXile's use of the trademark cause confusion?; does inXile has bona fide intent to use it?) in this, so it's going to a full trial instead of summary judgement.

See you in next year.
 

Severian Silk

Guest
tl;dr

So was inxile really basing the game on the SJG tabletop game, or just trying to use the "Autoduel" name for something unrelated?
 

felipepepe

Codex's Heretic
Patron
Joined
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Messages
17,278
Location
Terra da Garoa
So was inxile really basing the game on the SJG tabletop game, or just trying to use the "Autoduel" name for something unrelated?
They're going into court against each other... seems quite clear there's no collaboration whatsoever. But what hope they have? Steve Jackson has the precedent, is still selling GURPS AutoDuel and there's already a game with that name... Fargo might as well try to trademark Wizardry or Ultima.

InXile really is just a long series of bad decisions.
 

LESS T_T

Arcane
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
13,582
Codex 2014
According to the doc, inXile tried to convince that SJG's current use (selling digital versions of the old products) of the trademark is merely "nominal or residual use," but the judges didn't buy it.

As to the merits of Opposer’s motion, we first consider Applicant’s defense of abandonment. A showing of three consecutive years of non-use sets forth a prima facie case of abandonment; otherwise, a showing must be made of a period of nonuse less than three years coupled with an intent not to resume use. See Otto Int’l, Inc. v. Otto Kern GmbH, 83 USPQ2d 1861, 1863 (TTAB 2007). As pleaded in its answer, Applicant alleges “that Opposer has abandoned any rights it may have had to the mark ‘AUTODUEL.’” Answer to Amended Notice of Opposition, 13 TTABVUE 4. In other words, it is Applicant’s position that Opposer has abandoned the AUTODUEL mark as to all of the goods upon which use of the mark is asserted.

However, upon consideration of the evidence submitted by the parties, we find on the record before us that Opposer has not abandoned its rights to the AUTODUEL mark vis-à-vis all of Opposer’s asserted goods. In particular, Opposer submitted probative evidence that it has used the mark in commerce by offering for sale digital versions of Opposer’s “Autoduel Quarterly” continuously since 2005. Although Applicant characterizes these digital offerings as mere efforts to “archive” or “warehouse” the print versions of these publications and contends that Opposer’s making these back issues available in digital form “does not constitute the deliberate and continuous use that is required under trademark law,” Applicant’s Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment, 15 TTABVUE 4, we do not find such use to be so insignificant as to warrant a finding of abandonment. Applicant cites Kusek v. Family Circle, Inc., 894 F. Supp. 522 (D. Mass. 1995), for the proposition that the availability of back magazine issues is a “nominal or residual use” that is too inconsequential to forestall a finding of abandonment. However, the circumstances in Kusek are distinguishable from those herein.

In Kusek, the mark at issue (“Speed Cooking”) was not utilized as the name of the periodical (“Family Circle”) and had appeared in only two issues six months apart and only as part of an article in the magazine. Back issues of the periodical (including those that did not contain the mark) were made generally available upon request “if available” rather than as part of any effort “to market the trademarked product” or any “ongoing program to exploit the mark.” Id. at 533. Moreover, the defendant publisher of the magazine made manifest its intention to abandon the disputed mark. Id. at 526.

Such circumstances are in contrast to those in this proceeding relating to the 2005 use asserted by Opposer. Here, the subject mark was displayed on the cover of the periodical as part of the title, and past issues of the periodical were made available for sale as a digital download on Opposer’s own retail website since 2005, with each issue having a separate product page, description and order button, which clearly reflect an affirmative effort on the part of Opposer to market and sell the goods under the mark. See Motion for Summary Judgment, Declaration of Phil Reed, ¶¶ 13-14 and 19-22, Exhibits 13 (confidential), 18-19, 7 TTABVUE 34, 36-37, 84-89. We do not consider this a residual use intended merely to wind down physical inventory of Opposer’s periodicals on an “as requested” basis. Cf. Oshman’s Sporting Goods Inc. v. Highland Imp. Corp., 16 USPQ2d 1395, 1397 (TTAB 1990) (stating that the selling off of remaining inventory without intent to resume use is deemed abandonment).

Accordingly, we find an absence of a genuine dispute of material fact on Applicant’s claim of abandonment as to all of the goods asserted by Opposer and therefore GRANT Opposer’s motion for summary judgment on this defense.
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
Developer
Joined
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Messages
5,716
Location
California
I often like to quote the line from A Man For All Seasons "... but for Wales, Richard?" (The full line is something like "Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?") This seems like an apropos moment.
 

LESS T_T

Arcane
Joined
Oct 5, 2012
Messages
13,582
Codex 2014
Ah, I should have read that reason of extension request at last September. SJG requested another extension last week, and its reason is the same with the last time: http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/ttabvue-91225722-OPP-21.pdf

The grounds for this request are as follows:
- Parties are engaged in settlement discussions

Steve Jackson Games Incorporated has secured the express consent of all other parties to this proceeding for the extension and resetting of dates requested herein.

Wonder if they settle, and if they do, how.
 

ArchAngel

Arcane
Joined
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Messages
19,998
Ah, I should have read that reason of extension request at last September. SJG requested another extension last week, and its reason is the same with the last time: http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/ttabvue-91225722-OPP-21.pdf

The grounds for this request are as follows:
- Parties are engaged in settlement discussions

Steve Jackson Games Incorporated has secured the express consent of all other parties to this proceeding for the extension and resetting of dates requested heroin.

Wonder if they settle, and if they do, how.
Fuck, I read it at first as this. And I was was like "What..." :D
 

jaydee2k

Savant
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Portrait-Erritis.png
 

Freddie

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It was a nice concept but what I really want to see trademarked is Roadwar 2000.
It would be interesting to see modern take of both, Autoduel and Roadwar 2000. I don't recall Autoduel that well, but IIRC it was quite different sort of game compared to Roadwar 2000/Europe. For modern Autoduel I can't but think if parts of it could be made like Interstate '76, and for Roadwar 2000 I imagine something like nu XCom and C&C Generals, turn based of course.

It would be nice to get anything decent really. Those games had cool settings.
 

Iznaliu

Arbiter
Joined
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Messages
3,686
It would be nice to get anything decent really. Those games had cool settings.

The issue is that with the increasing cost of making games that get the requisite attention, developers would probably prefer not to take risks setting-wise (look at what happened to T:ToN).
 

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