Sat. Jan 28th, 2023
Atari still exists, no one else thinks one

The shuffling, ghostly shell of a company that shares its name with classic gamemaker Atari went to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this week to defend its exclusive rights to video games with Haunted house in the title.

The hearing at the USPTO yesterday came about as Atari opposed a proposed trademark for Haunted House Tycoonan upcoming game that small developer Hazy Dreams of Infinity tried to trademark back in 2011. In its appeal, Atari suggested that the 1982 game Haunted house had become “known to the public and trade” through “widespread and extensive use”.

Atari currently has a valid interest in its right to the 35-year-old game name. Haunted house is on iOS as part of the Atari’s greatest hits collection, and the game became available through Microsoft’s Game Room service starting in 2010. Atari also rebooted the franchise in 2010 with a remake of the same name, which continues to be sold as a Windows download.

But Atari’s legal interest in defending the Haunted house name is quite recent. The company didn’t file a trademark for the game until 2010 (when the remake was released). In the intervening years a handful of games with the Haunted house The name had been released with no legal issue, including a 2004 fan remake of the Atari VCS original.

While Ataris Haunted house is probably the best known game with the title, it is not the first game to bear the name. That honor probably belongs to 1972 Haunted house on the Magnavox Odyssey (a TRS-80 Haunted house from 1980 also predates the release of Atari). And of course, before video games even existed, the haunted house was a well-known general concept that players could easily recognize, regardless of any specific, proprietary video game idea.

“Atari has a terrible reputation for attacking independent game developers, including recently chasing them TxK developer Jeff Minter,” Hazy Dreams of Infinity President Andrew Greenberg said in a statement to VentureBeat. “It doesn’t look like anyone from the glory days of Atari’s Nolan Bushnell or Ray Kassar is still running the company. It’s tragic how the current leadership has driven its brand into the ground. They would be much better served by actually trying to make a good game instead of bullying independent developers.” The corporate entity now known as Atari has gone through so many sales, bankruptcies and restructurings in its more than three decades of existence that the current owners are primarily the guardians of the legal rights to a series of classic properties they have nothing to do with. had to do. The Atari corporate brand emerged from its latest bankruptcy through a purchase by French venture capitalist Frederic Chesnais, who was keen to “reposition the brand” from its troubled past. Since then, the 10-person company has lent the Atari name to social gambling startups and an LGBT-themed social game.

Atari’s case is just the latest in a long line of contentious game industry trademark litigation, including King Games’ withdrawn, controversial attempt to trademark the word “Candy,” Bethesda and Mojang’s settled battle over the term ‘Scrolls’ and Ubisoft and EA’s recent trademark battle for ‘Ghost’.

By akfire1

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