Gamers who watched the recent Ubisoft Forward presentation may have picked up on a change in titles. The game Gods & Monsters was renamed to Immortals: Fenyx Rising for reasons which Ubisoft claims were entirely based on the development process going to a new place and requiring a new name to reflect that. However, a recent story from TechRaptor suggests that statement is not entirely accurate.
Ubisoft’s filing at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a trademark for the original title seems to have been challenged by Monster Energy Company. The opposition appears to hinge upon the fact that Monster Energy licenses its logo and its sponsorship of events like Monster Supercross for existing video games, as well as putting their logo on countless types of merchandise.
If Ubisoft had trademarked Gods & Monsters and followed through on how they planned to use the trademark, there would have been merchandise on the Ubisoft store and probably GameStop with the title and logo on it, both of which are significantly different from Monster Energy’s trademarks.
For their part, Ubisoft has refuted Monster’s claim, making point-by-point declarations which state they have insufficient knowledge to admit or deny Monster’s assertions, though at one point they do state, “Ubisoft denies Opposer’s alleged marks are famous.” The case is still ongoing, as the most recent documents show an extension was granted on September 11.
Food For Thought
Considering that there’s already a minor bit of prior art involved, namely the 1998 movie Gods and Monsters, which in turn was inspired by a line from the 1935 movie Bride of Frankenstein, it’s possible Ubisoft’s filing was going to fail anyway, especially if Lionsgate FIlms decided to push the issue.
This appears to be a situation where Monster’s legal department slipped its leash and filed an opposition reflexively on the premise that they have to defend their trademark even if they know they’re going to lose the case.