Whoops! Blizzard May Need To Change Overwatch's Name

Fanghawk

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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 <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/12616-Overwatch-Hands-On-Preview-BlizzCon-2014>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 <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/tag/view/team%20fortress%202?os=team+fortress+2>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 <a href=http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=968750>the internet was quick to suggest, Blizzard might have better luck if it just changed the name to <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/137673-Titan-Blizzards-Cancelled-MMO-Details-Leak>Titan.

Source: <a href=http://apgnation.com/articles/2015/01/10/12976/blizzard-beaten-overwatch-patent>APG Nation, via <a href=http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Blizzard-Overwatch-Might-Need-Name-Change-69398.html>Cinema Blend

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Story

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Sep 4, 2013
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Wow, usually companies establish trade marks for their products way before and even back up names.
 

Grace_Omega

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

hermes

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That is weird. One would expect Blizzard would secure the name before spending tens of thousands of dollars in changing it.
 
Sep 24, 2008
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God, any shooter with the name with the word 'Over [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQfUMw5KJ0Q]' as a prefix seems to be plagued with name changes, Usually leading to Bad things [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA-0GYsdLKY]...

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

Aerosteam

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Sep 22, 2011
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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.
 

ohnoitsabear

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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.
 

Veldel

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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.
 

omega 616

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Fanghawk said:
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.
 

Abomination

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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.
 

JarinArenos

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Veldie said:
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.
 

raankh

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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?
 

PunkRex

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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.
 

Falterfire

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Aerosteam said:
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.
 

oldtaku

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