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Report RSS Regarding the trademark issue with inXile Entertainment...

No news about the game development in this post, unfortunately ! But considering how much attention my trademark issue with inXile Entertainment has recently taken, I would like to give more details about my exchange with inXile regarding the title of my game to clear up the situation.

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No news about the game development in this post, unfortunately ! But considering how much attention my trademark issue with inXile Entertainment has recently taken, I would like to give more details about my exchange with them regarding the title of my game to clear up the situation.

Despite what they said, I wouldn't call the way how inXile has reached me out to be 'friendly'. When someone drops you an email with things like "You may not be aware but wasteland is a registered trademark so The Alien Wasteland from a licensing perspective is no different from the Alien Call of Duty or something similar, and is infringing on our trademark", the first impression wasn't really sympathy, but why someone would bother me for a so widely used word used to describe an environment, like desert, forest or mountains ?!

The purpose of a trademark is to prevent someone from maliciously using a brand in order to create confusion and trick consumers into buying a product thinking it was another one. I have started to spend a lot of time writing emails where I say in short that Wasteland 2 is a post-apocalyptic turn-based role playing game with a top view, while my game The Alien Wasteland is a colourful action first person shooter with destructible environments featuring aliens. Just looking at the logo artwork of each game is enough to see that there aren't any attempts to mislead consumers.



I though it would be enough to show them that we shouldn't be worried about this, but all these efforts were useless since the following replies I received from them were just standing over the same point "US trademark law dictates that if a company (us) does not defend their mark, they stand risk of losing it or losing the right to defend against malicious use down" and implying the use of lawyer, which makes look like the 'friendly email' was more of a 'friendly cease and desist email'.

Despite their claims to look for an amicable solution, no clear offers was ever made in their emails, they just sent me a blog post of Vlambeer's game 'Nuclear Throne' where Vlambeer announces that he is changing the name of his game originally called Wasteland Kings due to a trademark conflict with inXile. I had to find out later in the comments that it was in exchange of a short media coverage from inXile in their social networks.

Now it wouldn't have been an issue for me to change the name of the game if it was still in development like it was the case with Vlambeer. But it is very hard to change the name of a game once it has been known for years. To be short, it is basically consisting in losing all the referencing on search engines, building it all over again with a new name, editing every text and graphic asset containing the title, which is including many graphic assets inside the game itself but also the multiple ones on Steam, Indie Gala Store, Indie Game Stand, Itchio, IndieDB, Facebook, Twitter, etc... on the trailer, on the Steam trading cards, etc... and also taking the risk to have the title change badly interpreted by the public. This is a hard and long work for a supposed trademark infringement which was looking quite insane to me, especially when I was already extremely busy with game development.

But arguing was going nowhere because of the "US trademark law dictates" reason, I had pretty much no choice but to change the title to cease the annoyance. So I have been thinking about a solution which would be a real win-win solution instead of a 'friendly' win-lose solution. I offered to change the name of the game on Steam and do as much as I could to change it everywhere else in exchange of a compensation to help me cover all the costs and the time involved into this painful process. Let me clear it up that the compensation I asked is absolutely nothing compared to the millions of US dollars inXile has earned through their kickstarter campaigns and sales on Steam.

Awaiting for their feedbacks about this offer, not even a single reply or attempt to negotiate was ever sent, despite they have been claiming since the beginning to be looking for an amicable solution. Instead I received a cease and desist letter from their lawyer asking not only to "cease the use of the 'wasteland' mark", but to completely "cease making available in any form or any website The Alien Wasteland game", and that "inXile reserve its rights with respect to your use of the mark, including its right to seek damages, lost profits, your profits, injunctive relief, attorneys' fees and costs, and treble damages, as authorized by the Federal Lanham Act and state law."

The initial version of my game was basically a shooter featuring aliens on a wasteland, hence why I found the title 'The Alien Wasteland' to be fitting to the game. Before choosing this title, I have been searching for a while on Steam and the Internet to make sure no games was titled 'The Alien Wasteland'. The full title since the beginning has always been 'The Alien Wasteland' with a 'The' in order to make it even more distinct. I never thought there could have been any issues with inXile's RPG Wasteland 2.

Last but not least, during my exchange of emails with inXile, I had to send them a list of games using 'wasteland' in their titles. While they had their reasons to not pursue most of them, they have let me know that they are considering one game of the list is infringing their trademark the same way as mine. I wouldn't name this game to not put the developer behind it or inXile in an even more uncomfortable situation, but if inXile is really following its logic of "US trademark law dictates", then a cease and desist letter should be sent soon to another indie developer, if not already.

So this is pretty much all I have to say about this issue for now. Thanks for reading and to everyone who offered me some help.

Devdan
Actionalien.com

UPDATE 13 September 2016 : I finally decided to throw up the list of all games and games-related things I could find which have "wasteland" in their names :

Fallout 4 Wasteland Workshops : Fallout.wikia.com
Wasteland Angel : Store.steampowered.com
Wasteland Bar-Fight : Wbf.kybernesis.com
Wasteland Game Studio : Wastelandgamestudio.com
The Waste Land : Store.steampowered.com
A3Wasteland : A3wasteland.com
Call of Ctuhulhu: The Wasted Land : En.wikipedia.org
Wild Wasteland : Kongregate.com
Project Wasteland : Armorgames.com
Wasteland Siege : Miniclip.com
Motor Wars Wasteland : Martiangames.com
Wasteland Jumper : Gamesfreak.net
Tony Hawk's American Wasteland : En.wikipedia.org's_American_Wasteland
Wasteland Gaming : Thewastelandgaming.com
...

All these games are infringing Inxile trademarks right ? So following this logic, what are they waiting to "friendly" contact all these people and send them some cease-and-desist letters ?

Comments
Maggy_

inXile pretty much said how ****** of a company they are. lmao #KYSinXile

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Mr.Walrus
Mr.Walrus

Jeez, that's ridiculous, not only when they made the copyright claim in the first place but also when they just flat-out refused to negotiate compensation. What pricks, I'm sorry to hear you had to deal with that >_< Fortunately 'Action Alien' is quite a good title as well!

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Gleylancer
Gleylancer

What complete ********, stay strong

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SPY-maps
SPY-maps

Indeed ridiculous. Makes me think about the King game company who makes games as Candy Crush etc, read ones they have now a clame on the word Candy and Sugar in game titles! Insane!

What to do, i wouldn't know.
And your right, it is nearly impossible to change your game now after it has been released for so long.
Very much success whished with this whole situation!!

Leon

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kabeltelevizio
kabeltelevizio

This is just terrible.
Back when they placed Wasteland under Trademark protection it was a special/unique word. now they would not be able to that.

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nuFF3
nuFF3

Remember, 'Sky' is also a copyrighted word. Onedrive used to be called Skydrive, No Man's Sky had legal trouble with the word too.
'Candy' and 'Saga' are also copyrighted words, King have copyrighted those ones.
It is absolutely BS that one can copyright words like that.
Then why not copyright EVERY word, and sue every company there is for LOADS OF MONEH!

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LordIheanacho
LordIheanacho

You want my advice mate. Hire an attorney and stand your ground. **** greedy companies like inXile. You shouldn't even have to change your game's name. These ********* assume customers are literally so stupid they can't tell the obvious difference between a cartoony survival arcade game and a realistic open-world RPG. It's a huge insult to the consumer base.

Better yet, I'd suggest you prepare to file a class-action lawsuit against these slimeballs. It's about time these big giants start falling. The Fine Brothers are already having a taste of karma. Give a strong reminder to King, inXile, Activision, EA, Disney, and any other greedy giant that takes their power for granted that they are not invincible. The moment you abuse your power, you shall and will suffer for it.

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