The U. S. Patent and Trademark Office suspended The War Z trademark more than a month before it launched on Steam.
It seems like one thing after another for The War Z, the zombie apocalypse MMO that launched on December 17 and then just days later was suspended amidst allegations of false advertising and misleading statements from the developer. But the latest bit of bad news actually came more than a month ago, on November 15, when the USPTO suspended the trademark.
The suspension came not because of the rough state of the game but because it was too close to Paramount Pictures' filings related to the upcoming World War Z film. The World War Z trademark applications were filed on July 10, ten days prior to The War Z application, and include "Downloadable electronic game programs; Electronic game software for handheld electronic devices; Video game cartridges and discs," and, in a separate filing, "online electronic games." According to GamesIndustry, Paramount has also held other World War Z-related trademarks since August 2011.
Why would Hammerpoint go through with the Steam release of the game when it knew, a full month ago, that it would not be able to legally use title? In a post on The War Z forums, Executive Producer Sergey Titov actually denied that the trademark had been suspended, calling the claim "ridiculous" and a lie and providing a link to what he said is the "real trademark," although it leads to an "expired search session" error message. "This is as stupid as saying that Colorado map is only 3x3 km," he added.
Whatever the reason, one anonymous observer, who may or may not be the only other guy in The Escapist newsroom today, described the situation as "pretty damn shady."
Source: U.S. Patent and Trade Office