It's been one month since The Day Before got unceremoniously yanked from Steam and its developer, Fntastic, took to Twitter (opens in new tab) to announce that it had been removed "at the request of a private individual," and promised to "definitely solve everything". A little while later, with everything definitely not solved, Fntastic put out a statement (opens in new tab) identifying its new arch-enemy, declaring "The so-called 'owner' of the rights to the title is the creator of the calendar app, which has nothing to do with the games category".
Well, two can play at the public statements game, because now the developer of TheDayBefore calendar app has spoken to Eurogamer. TheDayBefore points out that it "first distributed the app under the name 'The Day Before' in 2010"—a fact easily confirmed by checking its Google Play page (opens in new tab)—and has held the South Korean trademark for the title since 2015. Upon "Knowing that the game of the same name was produced," the calendar app's owners began "taking measures to protect trademark rights," like registering for a US trademark (opens in new tab) in 2021.
The calendar app told Eurogamer that it currently holds copyright for 'The Day Before' in "Korea, the United States, China, Russia, Japan, Vietnam, and the European Union," which sounds like a hell of a situation for Fntastic's lawyers to unpick, and that it's eager to put the trademark dispute behind it so that the app's fans can "can use it without worrying". I don't know that the 40+ million people who have downloaded the calendar app really care enough about its copyright to 'worry' about it, exactly, but I suppose it's the thought that counts.
It all makes the situation about Fntastic and The Day Before seem somehow more absurd than it already was. When the studio first announced that it was having trademark troubles, it mentioned only that the US rights to its name had been snaffled in 2021, which it then failed to notice until January this year. But the calendar app company has held the trademark in Korea for eight years now, and has been a Google search away for over a decade.
In the interests of fairness, Fntastic's complaint that a calendar app "has nothing to do with the games category" isn't really invalid. I doubt there's any serious risk that the audience for either product is going to get them mixed up, and it could certainly be the case that the people behind the app just saw an opportunity when the game got announced and took it. But the fact remains that the well-documented existence of a piece of software with the exact same name as Fntastic's game has been easy-to-find for over a decade, and it apparently never gave anyone at the studio pause.