Ubisoft and Electronic Arts appear to be caught up in a low-level but interesting beef over a trademark filing for the word “ghost.” Back in March 2015, EA applied to trademark the term for its Ghost Games studio, currently working on Need for Speed, relating to “entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game [and] provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet." Ubisoft, naturally, is against the idea.
Ubisoft first published opposition to the trademark application in August 2015, but the legal action was only filed on January 29. In it, Ubi's lawyers point out that the publisher has been using the Ghost Recon mark since November 13, 2001, “long before Applicant [EA] filed the Applications on March 18, 2015 and long before Applicant's November 19, 2013 claimed date of first use.” Furthermore, the goods and services covered by the trademark—the “providing an on-line computer game” and so forth—are “identical and highly related to the goods and services offered by Opposers [Ubisoft] in connection with the Ghost Recon marks.”
“Applicant's Mark so resembles Opposer's Ghost Recon marks alleged herein as to be likely, when used in connection with the goods and services identified in the Applications, to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive,” the opposition filing states. “Consumers are likely to believe, mistakenly, that the goods and services Applicant offers under Applicant's Mark are provided, sponsored, endorsed, or approved by Opposers, or are in some way affiliated, connected, or associated with Opposers, all to the detriment of Opposers.”
This is actually the second bit of trademark trouble EA has run into recently; in January is came to light that it had abandoned a trademark filing for the upcoming puzzle platformer Unravel, because of a conflict with a children's tabletop game called Beary's Unravel Games. Despite not being granted that trademark, EA said Unravel's title will not change, and I suspect that Ghost Games will remain so named regardless of how this all works out. EA has until March 9 to file its answer to the opposition.