Blizzard may have some trouble on their hands regarding their new team-based shooter, Overwatch. It seems a phone app developer called Innovis Labs may have gotten in first.
A letter was sent to Blizzard on January 9 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The letter contained a suspension to Rodney Rigole for the trademark of applications 86239314 and 86239318 and several attachments discussing further action. These application numbers, it seems, are to do with the recently revealed Blizzard game Overwatch. This notice was sent to Blizzard due to a conflict that cropped up in July of last year. The patent office filing of U.S Application Serial No. 86056160 made by Innovis labs for the Overwatch name was made in on May 5 in 2013 by attorney Jamie Fugitt. According to an included amendment, rather than issue the trademark to Blizzard for Overwatch, the examining attorney should have suspended the application. It was noted that if the already pending application (Innovis Labs) matured to registration, it may result in the refusal of Blizzard’s mark under Trademark Act Section 2(d). Blizzard has, as of yet, not taken any action regarding challenging it which has contributed to the suspension.
The note apologized for this oversight to Blizzard, explaining that their application for the Overwatch name has been suspended. The document states, “Subsequent to the issuance of this Examiner’s Amendment the application Serial No. 86056160 will be suspended pending the ultimate decision as discussed in July 11, 2014.”
What this means in laymen’s terms? Both Blizzard and Innovis have filed for the same name and both applications have been suspended until further notice regarding a decision by the USPTO.
Considering Innovis Labs (8606160) issued applied a whole two months prior to Blizzard, it’s likely the hearing will go in their favour and Blizzard may have to find a new name for their team-based shooter.
The Overwatch application that is causing so many headaches for Blizzard is a smartphone application. It has been designed for use in paintball, airsoft and for recreational purposes. According to the site, it can be mounted on the rail of a paintball gun to provide tactical information for a wargame. The application claims to track enemies and teammates in real-time via GPS, as well as acting like a short wave radio. There is also a command center function that would suggest the team leader can issue orders to the team via the app screen itself. It uses any regular smartphone to enhance paintball war-gaming experiences. The reason the two applications having the same name is an issue is due to the industry they’re both in. Both are in the identification of “Entertainment services, namely, providing on-line computer games; Providing computer games that are accessed via a global computer network”. As such, only one of them can have the name.
We will keep you up to date as soon as we know more on the situation. Blizzard’s (likely to be renamed) Overwatch enters beta later this year with no release date. As always if you want to comment or just like what we do here at the Nation, feel free to stalk us via Twitter. Thanks for reading.