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Updated: Watch Dogs trademark abandonment allegedly fraudulent, not Ubisoft’s doing

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Posted on February 3, 2014 AT 11:21am

Update 2: Looks like the filing to abandon the trademark for Watch Dogs wasn’t Ubisoft’s doing after all.

According to new paperwork that the company has sent to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the earlier petition to expressly abandon the trademark, purportedly signed by CEO Yves Guillemot, actually came from an unknown third party with no affiliation to the game.

“On February 1, 2014, Ubisoft Entertainment received an email from TEAS@uspto.gov notifying Ubisoft Entertainment that a Request for Express Abandonment had been filed in connection with Application Serial No. 85642398.  The Request for Express Abandonment purports to be signed by the Chief Executive Officer of Ubisoft Entertainment, Yves Guillemot.

“Mr. Guillemot, however, did not sign the Request for Express Abandonment, nor did Ubisoft Entertainment file the Request for Express Abandonment.  The Request for Express Abandonment is fraudulent and was not filed by Ubisoft Entertainment or its representative.”

Ubisoft has also provided an official statement to EGM, confirming that this mix-up will not mean further delays for the title. “We are working directly with the USPTO on reinstating the trademark for Watch Dogs and it will be active again in the coming days,” it reads. “The matter has no impact on the Watch Dogs’ development.”

Update: According to a tweet from Ubisoft Montreal’s official Twitter account posted just under an hour ago, Watch Dogs is “still being polished as we speak.”

Original Story: Ubisoft has filed for “express abandonment” of the Watch Dogs trademark, according to the game’s listing on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.

The request for express abandonment of the Watch Dogs trademark, filed on February 1, 2014, was signed by Ubisoft chief executive officer Yves Guillemot.

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s patent rules, Ubisoft technically has two months to file a petition to reverse the abandonment. Such a move, however, is typically very rare and even less successful, granted “only in an extraordinary situation, given the risk of prejudice to the rights of third parties.”

As multiple intellectual property lawyers point out, however, abandonment of a trademark is otherwise completely irreversible.

This could mean one of two things: Either Ubisoft is rebranding Watch Dogs—which seems unlikely, given they’ve spent almost two full years marketing the game with that name (and were it to come out this spring, as planned, a name change could seriously damage sales)—or the company scrapped the project (possibly due to middling internal reviews and the company’s desire to avoid producing something that in any way affected their reputation as a major developer and publisher).

Watch Dogs was originally set to launch on PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii U November 19, 2013 as part of the next-gen console launches. In October, the company announced that Watch Dogs had been delayed to a nebulous spring 2014 launch window, citing a need “to take the extra time to polish and fine tune every detail so we can deliver a truly memorable and exceptional experience.”

EGM has reached out to Ubisoft for comment and will update the story with any response.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office

Chris Holzworth, News Editor
Chris Holzworth has wanted to write about games all his life. He first cut his teeth writing for enthusiast sites such as RPGFan, and after writing for just about every other enthusiast website he could came across, wound up as EGM's east coast news correspondent (read: editorial intern, a fancy phrase for "slave") before relocating to LA to serve as news editor. [Meet the rest of the crew]

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