Word from the legal side of things is that Unravel, EA’s upcoming adora-cute platformer about lil’ Yarny there, has had its trademark declined in the US. Standard proceedings were interrupted and declined by the trademark office due to a “likelihood of confusion” between it and a children’s board game called Beary’s Unravel Game. Worry was that it might mean a last minute alteration to the game’s title, either through actual change or popping a subtitle on the end. However, EA say that won’t be necessary.
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As you’d expect, NeoGAF were the first ones to spot the troubles, regular readers of the United States Patent and Trademark Office website as they are. The original trademark was actually refused back in June 2015, but has shown up now because EA failed to respond within six months, meaning the whole application was cancelled. You can discover just how unbelievably long every piece of legal documentation is for yourself, or get the Cliff Notes on GAF. Essentially, it was rejected due to the similarity of the two products, in that they’re both games, and the identical names, as despite its suf- and prefix the board game is registered under the name Unravel.
So, speaking to Gamespot, EA confirmed that they have no plans to change the name, saying in a statement that “the trademark application does not impact the game title of Unravel, and we’re looking forward to the game launching on February 9.” Not a word on why, but a couple of speculative theories from me follow.
Presumably either they have a way around it; think USPTO have made a mistake or intended to reply but managed to forget in their doubtlessly omni-layered office bureaucracy. Or they just don’t mind, I’m not sure exactly what having a trademark in the US will and won’t allow them or others to do. Somehow, I doubt the folks making bears-flying-kites children’s board games are planning to get into a legal battle with EA by trying to claim profits or some such.