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Clothing brand Diesel in trademark dispute with Dieselstormers

Steam Early Access title faces unexpected obstacle

German indie developer Black Forest Games has hit an unlikely snag in its latest project, the clothing brand Diesel has filed a legal opposition to the studio's attempt to trademark the name Dieselstormers.

"The history of the Dieselstormers project is full of challenges," said Black Forest Games MD Andreas Speer.

"This dispute is simply one more thing to overcome, but we will not be deterred in our will to make a great game."

The fashion brand holds the trademark for DIESEL across a range of products, including games, and has argued that this could lead to confusion for consumers. In a statement Black Forest Games pointed out that it is clearly referring to the fuel, not the fashion brand, in its title and it has "no intent to create clothing under the Dieselstormers brand."

The European Union body The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) will have the final say in the dispute.

Latest comments (8)

Paolo Giunti Narrative Designer 2 years ago
I wonder, is the "shoot first, ask questions later" really the policy of so many big brands? It's not the first time i see them rising a legal issue without really thinking it trough.

I'm just gonna facepalm at this and hope that the game will, at least, benefit from some free advertisement.
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments2 years ago
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-07-28-trademarks-where-you-stand-and-what-you-should-be-doing
In order to maintain a CTM's distinctiveness, the rights holder must stay on the lookout for other trade mark applications being filed for similar trade marks in respect of similar goods and/or services, and be ready to oppose them where appropriate. Failure to do so is likely to have the effect of eroding the CTM's distinctiveness by undermining its ability to perform its essential function (i.e. to act as an identifier of origin of goods and/or services). The filing of oppositions is thus a routine part of the portfolio management process of any sophisticated rights holder.
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Paolo Giunti Narrative Designer 2 years ago
Thanks for the clarification Neil.
Under this light, DIESEL's behavior does make sense: they basically just file a lawsuit at the first hint of a threat and let the authorities do any actual investigation for them.

Doesn't help in making episodes like this look any less ridiculous, though.
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Show all comments (8)
John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London2 years ago
I think the real question is, why were DIESEL given a trademark on their brand name for games. Have they ever made a game? Are they ever likely to? And did they apply for the gaming trademark before or after GRIN started releasing games built using the Diesel engine in 2001?

Also, it's hard to argue "distinctiveness" when your brand name is a single commonly used word that had another meaning for over 80 years before your brand existed. I can understand letting them trademark the use of the word Diesel for clothing, but why should they be able to interfere with people using that generic term in a completely different context and industry? Trademark law is an ass for letting this kind of nonsense happen.
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Iain Stanford Experienced Software Engineer, Tinderstone2 years ago
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Xander "Fluke" Dent Games Journalism, Technical Support and Cat-Herding. 2 years ago
"Also, it's hard to argue "distinctiveness" when your brand name is a single commonly used word that had another meaning for over 80 years before your brand existed. I can understand letting them trademark the use of the word Diesel for clothing, but why should they be able to interfere with people using that generic term in a completely different context and industry? Trademark law is an ass for letting this kind of nonsense happen."

I can't agree more with this. How in all that is effing sensible can you "claim" copyright over an existing word in mass common use?!

The current, massively outdated copyright, trademark and patents system that was designed before it was possible to duplicate information without cost need a total rework, a sequel, if you like, using modern ideas. The constant "patching" of the old system has lead us to the bloated, slow dinosaur we have today that does nothing but feed lawyers and slow pace of progress.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Xander "Fluke" Dent on 31st July 2014 3:25pm

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Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance2 years ago
I would like to take this time to announce the newest (only) title from my new company! It is entitled "King Diesel the Zynga: Friendship is Magic!" and is set in the world of... hang on, I just got some mail.

Um, disregard the above. Also I now have no assets, and will be making public appearances on a corner near you.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 2 years ago
You forgot to use the word EDGE in your "press release", Steve... :D (Hopefully someone will get that reference!)
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