EA loses trademark battle for Unravel

Despite EA putting a lot of effort into promoting its upcoming adventure/puzzler Unravel, it seems the game might not actually be called that when it launches next month. The US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected the publisher’s trademark application, claiming that “Unravel” is too close to the title of an existing children’s game.

Beary's Unravel Game

Beary’s Unravel Game

Beary’s Unravel Game is a kid’s board game involving cute animals and kite strings – and it seems that publisher SimplyFun registered the word “Unravel” as part of its trademark applications.

Obviously, EA has been aware of this for some time – the trademark application was first knocked back on June 22, 2015 (just after the game’s big reveal).

The refusal document, spotted by NeoGAF, explains:

When comparing marks, the test is not whether the marks can be distinguished in a side-by-side comparison, but rather whether the marks are sufficiently similar in terms of their overall commercial impression that confusion as to the source of the goods and/or services offered under the respective marks is likely to result.

This is the same sort of situation as we saw when Bethesda took Mojang to court over (now-closed) Scrolls. That case saw Bethesda license the “Scrolls” trademark to Mojang for a one-off release – but we’re not sure SimplyFun and EA can come to the same sort of agreement here.

The USPTO gave EA six months to appeal the decision, but it seems EA failed to respond by December 23, prompting an abandonment notice on January 19. This means that EA does not hold any claim to the name, and Yarny’s upcoming outing will probably be called something quite different. We’re expecting either an expanded title including the word Unravel, or simply a new name focussing on Yarny himself. Whatever it’s called, the game will be released February 9, for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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