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ZeniMax has found itself on the receiving end of a trademark dispute, this time over the company’s recent trademark application for the word “Redfall.” The resistance comes from the publisher BookBreeze.com on behalf of Jay Falconer, the author of the sci-fi novel series that shares a name with ZeniMax's recent trademark application.
First spotted by GamesRadar, the dispute sees the two parties wrapped up in conferences and hearings from March of this year to August 2020 and highlights just some of the complications that can spring up when filing for trademarks.
It’s not known exactly what game ZeniMax applied for the Redfall trademark for, but with another Elder Scrolls game in the works at ZeniMax-owned Bethesda, it’s possible that the company was planning to use Redfall in the name of that in-development game.
The problem there, as GamesRadar points out, is that the trademark could cause some confusion between Bethesda’s game and Falconer’s novel series, and potentially lead to bigger issues if Falconer’s series ever gets a video game rendition.
According to the author, his legal team attempted to resolve the issue before filing an official dispute, but was met with radio silence from ZeniMax at every turn.
“My lawyers made attempts to contact gaming company to work out a simple licensing deal for them to use my Redfall name,” tweeted Falconer. They ignored me every time. Shame. Left me no choice. All could have been avoided. Just call my attorneys back.”
ZeniMax, of course, is no stranger to trademark disputes, though the few in recent memory usually have the company on the other side of the issue. The company put pressure on the developers of the indie game first known as Prey for the Gods to change the name of their game to avoid confusion with Arkane Studios' Prey and, years before that, launched an infringement against Mojang arguing that its game Scrolls infringed on ZeniMax's Elder Scrolls trademark.