EA And Ubisoft Clash Over Ghost Trademark Filing

by Mike Futter on Feb 01, 2016 at 01:51 AM

In a move that is becoming more common in the gaming world, Ubisoft is attempting to quash EA's attempt to trademark the word "ghost." The home of Tom Clancy games suggests that EA's trademark would cause confusion with its Ghost Recon series.

It's not clear for what purpose EA is hoping to use the word, though it does own a studio called Ghost Games. It does not appear these filings are related to the studio's name. 

EA's filings cover the following classes:

  • Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; Provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet.
  • Computer game software; Downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices; Video game software. 

Ubisoft's opposition filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) covers a number of classes that encompass games, software, and related products. Ubisoft currently operates Ghost Recon Online, and has announced another title in the franchise, Ghost Recon Wildlands. EA filed the trademark request, a routine business practice, in August 2015. The opposition period, which which was extended at the 30- and 90-day marks, expired on January 31. The opposition was filed on January 29, the last business day before the window closed.

EA has a limited amount of time to respond and attempt to keep the filing alive. EA has until March 9 to respond in writing.

Ubisoft isn't the first publisher to move to protect single-word marks. Bethesda attempted to divert Mojang over the name of the now-defunct collectible game Scrolls (because of The Elder Scrolls franchise). The two parties later reached an agreement.

An unnamed publisher also induced a name change for Green Lava Studios' Fenix Rage (now called Fenix Furia). The word "rage" was the problem, which hints that Bethesda could have been the publisher involved here, too.

[Source: USPTO via NeoGAF]


Our Take
Ghost isn't an uncommon word or theme in the gaming world. In addition to EA's project likely using the name and Ubisoft's Ghost Recon series, there's also Blizzard's defunct Starcraft: Ghost, 2003's Ghost Master, 2010's Ghost Trick, 2013's Call of Duty: Ghosts, and more. Single word marks of common words are hard to secure, but this opposition might seal this attempt's fate.