Ubisoft is petitioning the United States Patent and Trademark Office to prevent trademark abandonment.
Someone clearly has it in for Ubisoft's Watch Dogs. A notice of express abandonment of the Watch Dogs trademark was filed on February 1st, signed by Yves Guillemot himself. Yet Guillemot denies ever filing that paperwork, and alleges fraud. Ubisoft is petitioning the United States Patent and Trademark Office hoping to prevent abandonment.
"The Request for Express Abandonment purports to be signed by the Chief Executive Officer of Ubisoft Entertainment, Yves Guillemot," says Ubisoft in its petition. "Mr. Guillemot, however, did not sign the Request for Express Abandonment, nor did Ubisoft Entertainment file the Request for Express Abandonment. The Request for Express Abandonment is fraudulent and was not filed by Ubisoft Entertainment or its representative."
At time of writing it's not known who filed the abandonment paperwork, or allegedly forged Guillemot's signature. A document dated February 3rd suggests that the trademark has been abandoned, but if that is what happened it doesn't seem to be Ubisoft's doing.
Ubisoft has also filed paperwork replacing its attorney. The February 3rd document lists Marc Muraccini as its representative, Ubisoft's Senior Trademark Counsel and the man in charge of its trademark portfolio. However Ubisoft has named Joel D. Leviton of Fish & Richardson P.C., Minneapolis, as its attorney, replacing Muraccini.
Source: US Patent and Trademark Office
Update: Ubisoft confirms that the Watch Dogs trademark has been abandoned.
"We are working directly with the USPTO on reinstating the trademark for Watch Dogs and it will be active again in the coming days," says a Ubisoft representative. "The matter has no impact on Watch Dogs' development."
Update: Looks as if the only thing standing between Ubisoft and its trademark is Guillemot's signature.
The response from the USPTO reads:
"The petition is incomplete because a separate affidavit/declaration signed by Mr. Guillemot stating he did not sign the express abandonment is required because the express abandonment filed on February 3, 2014 names him as signatory. Note that you may sign the declaration supporting the petition itself as the attorney of record, but a separate affidavit/declaration from Mr. Guillemot is required in support of the facts surrounding the express abandonment, verified by an affidavit or declaration under Trademark Rule 2.20. See 37 C.F.R. §§2.20, 2.146(c); TMEP §1705.03."
Ubisoft has 30 days to sort it out, says USPT.
Update: Ubisoft has filed all the necessary paperwork and regained its patent.
Says the USPTO:
"Pursuant to 37 C.F.R. §2.68, an applicant may expressly abandon an application. Such abandonment may be withdrawn, but only on petition, and only upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances. In re Glaxo Group Limited, 33 USPQ2d 1535 (Comm'r Pats. 1993); TMEP §718.01.
Here, the circumstances are extraordinary. An unknown party who lacked authority executed the purported abandonment of the application. Although the request appears to have been sent by petitioner, petitioner declared that it did not submit the request and has every reason to believe that this filing was fraudulent. The Director finds the application should not have been abandoned. Pursuant to supervisory authority provided by 37 C.F.R. §2.146(a)(3), the Director permits the reinstatement of the application."