Devil's Third Dev Valhalla Game Studios Faces Public Hearing Over Studio Name Trademark Dispute

by Mike Futter on Nov 11, 2015 at 08:31 AM

Valhalla Game Studios, founded by Tomonobu Itagaki, is facing an opposition to a trademark filing that would protect the company’s name. The objection comes from Valhalla Motion Pictures, the company behind the Terminator films.

The Los Angeles Intellectual Property Law Association (LAIPLA) is hosting the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board this Friday. A triumvirate of judges will hear final oral arguments in the trademark dispute.

Valhalla Motion Pictures is part of the larger Valhalla Entertainment organization. That company also has a television branch, responsible for The Walking Dead. In its opposition filing, Valhalla Motion Pictures claims that a Valhalla Game Studios trademark would be confusing in the marketplace.

"The film and television production services and comic books promoted under the Valhalla marks are closely related to the computer and video games, development of such games, and related comic books and toys promoted under the infringing mark," the company says. "Use of the infringing mark in connection with these goods and services will cause a likelihood of confusion if registration is granted."  

The educational event will include a question-and-answer session and presentation on trademark law. Members of the community that would like to attend can do so for $105. 

The event will be held at Loyola Law School on Friday, November 13. The program and hearing will last from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.

[Source: LAIPLA via NeoGAF]


Our Take
On the surface this might seem like a dire turn of events, but it isn’t. Should the opposition to the trademark filing be upheld, Valhalla Game Studios could retain its name. However,  an injunction could follow forcing the issue. It just won’t be able to protect that name from another company using it, for instance. Trademarks are protection against brand dilution and market confusion, which is why companies go through the process. There is no direct monetary penalty for Valhalla Game Studios to come out on the wrong side of this.

If you want to know how confusing it can be to have two studios with the same name, ask members of the Just Cause and Disney Infinity teams. Both are made by studios named Avalanche, but an agreement between the two allows them both to operate as such. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see gamers get them mixed up.