Square Enix has filed a trademark dispute against a Malta-based indie developer for using the word "Conflict" in the title of its game.
Dorado Games recently attempted to trademark Conflict of Nations: World War 3, an online strategy game which released on Steam earlier this year.
Quickly thereafter, it received an opposition filing from Square Enix's lawyers, claiming that there "is a clear likelihood of confusion" with the publisher's long-established Conflict franchise.
Between 2002 and 2008, Square Enix published six games under the branding, such as Conflict: Desert Storm, and Conflict: Denied Ops.
In a letter to Dorado Games seen by GamesIndustry.biz, Square Enix's lawyers argue that the publisher has been using the trademark for 16 years, and has "educated consumers" to recognise the "Conflict + tagline" pattern.
"The applicant's mark consists of 3 words: Conflict of Nations," the letter reads. "The opponents mark is its entirety contained within the applicants mark, occupying the dominant position."
Nick Porsche, managing director of Dorado Games, compared the move to Bethesda's "Scrolls trademark calamity".
"Having been in the games industry for 20 years this type of behaviour is exactly the reason we decided to do our own thing - without publishers, based in an island nation with its own jurisdiction," he told GamesIndustry.biz.
"It's really ridiculous to which degree the majors are trying to crush anyone within their space, while preventing smaller companies from effectively marketing their products online - even when there is no contextual overlap whatsoever."
However, the Square Enix lawyers argue that the visual, phonetic, and conceptual dominance of "Conflict" is the leading element, while "of nations" less important and "if perceived and remembered by the consumer, are likely to be treated as a mere afterthought".