Developer Bethesda Softworks filed trademark applications earlier this year for the Fallout name, to be used with both an on-going television series and motion pictures.
The trademark applications don't offer many details; one simply mentions "entertainment services in the nature of an on-going television program," while the other describes "motion picture films about a post-nuclear apocalyptic world."
Although the trademarks may suggest the company is interested in pursuing one or both options, it's just as likely the company is interested in reserving the name from use by others and helping to clarify rights confusion.
The filings were made in February, but have come to light shortly after conflict between Bethesda and original franchise license holder Interplay surfaced over the Fallout MMO.
Even though Interplay retains the rights to make a massively multiplayer online game based on the property, Bethesda says the publisher has failed to begin full-scale development of the project by the previously-agreed date, nor raised funds adequate to begin.
UPDATE: During an interview with Shacknews, Bethesda marketing VP Pete Hines elaborated that the motive behind the trademarks is "to be make sure that we're protecting what we created."
"And I can tell you, we've gotten a ton of interest about those kinds of things, not just with Fallout, but over the years," he said. "And it was just a, 'Let's make sure that we're protecting what is ours and not letting somebody else do anything with it.' So it's more of that, and it is not in response to any specific project or initiative or anything in particular."