Whoops! Blizzard May Need To Change Overwatch's Name

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Whoops! Blizzard May Need To Change Overwatch's Name

Blizzard's trademark application for Overwatch has been suspended thanks to a smartphone app submitted two months earlier.

Overwatch is looking to be an impressive team-based multiplayer shooter except for one tiny detail: Blizzard might not be able to call it Overwatch. Last Friday, Blizzard received a letter from the US Patent and Trademark Office suspending its application for the Overwatch brand. What exactly would prompt that, you may ask? It turns out that two months before Blizzard submitted its request, Innovis Labs put forward its own Overwatch trademark application for a smartphone app.

Outside of a name, there isn't too much overlap between the Overwatch game and Overwatch app. Where Blizzard is constructing a shooter inspired by titles like Team Fortress 2, Innovis Labs' Overwatch is a smartphone app for real-world paintball and airsoft rifles. When your smartphone is fixed to the rail of the gun, it provides a GPS tactical overlay to track friends and foes, while letting teammates communicate with each other and track their stats.

That actually sounds really cool for anyone playing paintball or laser tag. But it does put Blizzard in a bind, since any dispute would likely favor Innovis Labs. Blizzard's claim hasn't been rejected outright however, so there's still time to either pick another name or make an offer to Innovis for the Overwatch name rights.

Of course, as the internet was quick to suggest, Blizzard might have better luck if it just changed the name to Titan.

Source: APG Nation, via Cinema Blend

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Wow, usually companies establish trade marks for their products way before and even back up names.

That sounds like a pretty sweet smartphone application.

I don't think I'd want my smartphone anywhere near airsoft pellets. Those things could probably crack a screen.

That is weird. One would expect Blizzard would secure the name before spending tens of thousands of dollars in changing it.

God, any shooter with the name with the word 'Over' as a prefix seems to be plagued with name changes, Usually leading to Bad things...

I, for one, welcome our Gritty Bland Restructure Overlords...

And this is why copyrights on already existing terms are stupid.

Good. Overwatch is a pretty generic name and I hope they change it.

Also, you can trademark a name without having it actually exist? Uh huh.

On the one hand, it would be kind of dumb if Blizzard couldn't call their game Overwatch because of a previous application for something completely unrelated. On the other hand, Overwatch is one of the most generic, least interesting, and least descriptive things that they could call their game, and I would not be opposed to them changing the name to something better.

At least for once it's not trolls and assholes trying to muck stuff up for a quick payday.

Wonder what blizzard will rename the game to.

Maybe now they can name it Mobacraft, which is a very original name.

Fanghawk:
painball

Gotta say, painball sounds way more interesting than paintball ... like a script for a movie, that rips off hunger games and rollerball.

On topic. I expect blizzard to just throw cash till the app makers can't resist.

Though, it is a little generic and I think over watch sounds better as the app, than the game.

Given the whole story premise for Overwatch changing the name at this time would be more costly than say... offering the creator of the Overwatch App a nice hefty sum to change the name of HIS product.

Not that either party has to or has to accept, I just see it as the cheapest option available.

So... maybe make the marketing materials AFTER you know your name is available?

Veldie:
At least for once it's not trolls and assholes trying to muck stuff up for a quick payday.

Wonder what blizzard will rename the game to.

Yeah, that was my reaction. Pleasantly surprised that there was an actual interesting product attached to the trademark.

Now, that would make a great Cartoon Network shounen-style show, but I'm left wondering exactly what relevance does it have to the game. Rather, where's Ep 2 where the older brother meets the rest of the team and starts to figure out his special talent?

For fucks sake, it doesn't even need to be in the same ballpark as the other product to run into copy right problems, bullshit.

Aerosteam:
Also, you can trademark a name without having it actually exist? Uh huh.

It's kind of necessary, though. If you say "You must have a product on the market in order to trademark the name" you open the system to far far more abuse than currently.

If Blizzard can't trademark the name of a game before launch, they have to keep the name secret until launch because otherwise anybody with a little bit of coding knowledge can throw together some piece of trash, call it Overwatch, throw it up on the mobile market, and claim the trademark out from under Blizzard.

There's relatively little room for abuse here because unlike patents, names don't carry that much value until attached to a product - Starcraft is a valuable name now, but you couldn't have profitably trademarked it before Blizzard used it. If a name is generic enough that a trademark-squatter (Not sure there even is such a thing) grabs it before you can, it's probably generic enough you didn't want it anyways.

My son just suggested they release it in a hyper-bugged and unfinished state and call it Overpatch.

'Titan' would run into problems with Titanfall. Even though everyone's forgotten about that already.

What if they tried using a variant on the name like Over-Watch or O\/erW/\tch or OverW^tch?

I don't see any reason they couldn't share the trademark. The products are dissimilar enough that it's unlikely to cause confusion.

Granted that I don't know copyright law that well, but since one of these is for a paintball-related app, and another is a PC video game, don't they not really clash since they're products for two completely different services and customer bases? I could swear I've seen cases like this where I would have thought that one company could sue the other for copyright infringement, but it didn't matter since it was two completely different products.

Grace_Omega:
I don't think I'd want my smartphone anywhere near airsoft pellets. Those things could probably crack a screen.

Airsoft is so weak, I highly doubt they can crack anything.

Unless you're using metal pellets. Then I imagine you'd feel it at anything other than point blank.

But on topic, copy-right law confuses the fuck out of me. Is there a time limit? What about Taken, with aliens, and Taken, with Liam Neeson?

I suppose the app does sound more appropriate with that word but in saying so, what is an "overwatch"? Well ok it's a military tatic that one unit support another unit hence over watch. Still when I first watched the game trailer, I did felt the name didn't suit the game as it kinda look more fun (especially the cinematic) and than serious.

Scarim Coral:
what is an "overwatch"?

Within the game's lore, "Overwatch"(named after the millitart tactic and the fact that they watch over the world, so deep) was an organization that was created to bring peace to the world in light of a robot uprising(among other things). Once all the world wide threats were taken care of it disbanded. The characters we'll play are it's former members, and other people(or robots) that had dealings with them.

Even if the game changes name, that bit will probably stay true, but it'll be kinda like League of Legends getting rid of the League of Legends from it's lore: kinda awkward.

Well good for that, it was super generic title anyway.

Well good for that, it was super generic title anyway.

They may just buy the name. Blizz does have that kind of cash to throw around and most app devs would probably jump at the chance to make some quick dough like that.

BeerTent:

Grace_Omega:
I don't think I'd want my smartphone anywhere near airsoft pellets. Those things could probably crack a screen.

Airsoft is so weak, I highly doubt they can crack anything.

Unless you're using metal pellets. Then I imagine you'd feel it at anything other than point blank.

There are also people (personally, I call them dickheads) who are modifying their ASGs (usually sniper rifle models) so they can shoot on a further distance. Those things can hurt like hell, I can tell you that. As for paintball... I have a friend who is frequently playing, and I've seen some of the bruises he got from a close range encounters. Yep, definitely wouldn't want my phone anywhere near those kind of activities.

The idea sounds cool though, if you're not scared and/or playing with the reliable crew.

OT: I wonder how many real, existing words are still up for grabs in term of patents for IPs, and how much of a problem this will be in the future, if no one will change those stagnant, outdated copyright laws. Sucks for Blizzard, either way, they'll have to pay some money for this oversight - probably to the app creators, since it's probably easier than rebranding an already hyped game.

Alleged_Alec:
And this is why copyrights on already existing terms are stupid.

PunkRex:
For fucks sake, it doesn't even need to be in the same ballpark as the other product to run into copy right problems, bullshit.

WhiteTigerShiro:
Granted that I don't know copyright law that well, but since one of these is for a paintball-related app, and another is a PC video game, don't they not really clash since they're products for two completely different services and customer bases? I could swear I've seen cases like this where I would have thought that one company could sue the other for copyright infringement, but it didn't matter since it was two completely different products.

Copyright laws are much different from Trademark laws. This is a trademark case.

Instead of calling it Overwatch, how about they call it Overlook?

Y'know, because they overlooked trademarking the name when they first started developing the game...

Hell, the game could be called Poopsandtoots for all I care, Im just in it for that sweet looking gameplay.

Poopsandtoots GOTY 2015.

Overwatch was always a lame title, and Titan is way too close to Titanfall for a shooter (like Battlecry and Battleborn). Find a creative title, maybe even go for two whole words, crazy!

Yossarian1507:

BeerTent:

Grace_Omega:
I don't think I'd want my smartphone anywhere near airsoft pellets. Those things could probably crack a screen.

Airsoft is so weak, I highly doubt they can crack anything.

Unless you're using metal pellets. Then I imagine you'd feel it at anything other than point blank.

There are also people (personally, I call them dickheads) who are modifying their ASGs (usually sniper rifle models) so they can shoot on a further distance. Those things can hurt like hell, I can tell you that. As for paintball... I have a friend who is frequently playing, and I've seen some of the bruises he got from a close range encounters. Yep, definitely wouldn't want my phone anywhere near those kind of activities.

The idea sounds cool though, if you're not scared and/or playing with the reliable crew.

OT: I wonder how many real, existing words are still up for grabs in term of patents for IPs, and how much of a problem this will be in the future, if no one will change those stagnant, outdated copyright laws. Sucks for Blizzard, either way, they'll have to pay some money for this oversight - probably to the app creators, since it's probably easier than rebranding an already hyped game.

Actually, they also sell the mount for your gun. it seems to fully cover the back of your phone, so any shot that come from the front would it the case.

http://overwatchapp.com/

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