from up to the knees department
id Software is no stranger to dumb IP enforcement actions. Between trying to own concepts that can’t be owned and occasionally trying to use legal muscle to intimidate others into not using common words in their own video game titles, the company has proven that she was perfectly capable of playing the IP bully. But at least in these specific cases, if you squint at them, they look a bit like industry-related intellectual property disputes, almost understandable.
As for how id Software applies its revered Loss brands, however, this is not the case. The company has a history of opposing and/or sending out C&Ds to all sorts of barely related or unrelated commercial entities to try to register anything that has to do with the word “doom”: podcasts , festivals and entertainment properties. And now it seems, thrash metal bands too.
Dustin Mitchell, like many of us over the past few years, came across the term “doomscrolling” and decided that “Doomscroll” would be a cool name for his next metal band. After coming up with the idea, he decided to file a trademark application on the name of musical acts. And then came the opposition from id Software.
In October, Mitchell was playing his guitar before bed when he decided to check his email one last time. A message from a lawyer appeared in his inbox. “Dear Mr. Mitchell,” he would say. “My law firm represents Id Software LLC, owner of the DOOM video game and related trademarks.” That day, October 13, he continued, was the deadline for Id Software LLC, or anyone else, to oppose its “doomscroll” trademark application. The attorney asked Mitchell to agree to extend the deadline. That way, Mitchell and the Doom developer could find time to reach a resolution before any legal action.
Mitchell immediately felt funny; even a little sour. He was 10 years old in 1993 when Doom took the gaming world by storm, allowing edgelord players to smash the heads of demons with a slew of guns against a backdrop of fiery hell. He had played Doom and Doom 2 at the time, both of which he describes as “great”, and had listened to the metal-inspired soundtrack for 2020’s Doom Eternal, which he describes as “not bad”. Now Mitchell has found himself in an unexpected stalemate with his developer. He loved these games as a child, he says, but “they try to take something away from me that has nothing to do with them”.
Completely unrelated. Never mind the soundtracks produced by id Software Loss titles, unless he registered his trademark for the music space, that’s completely irrelevant. And even if he did registering one’s trademark for musical acts or productions probably does not yet make it a valid opposition. “Doomscroll” is in no way a reference to the video game series. Instead, it’s become a common slang term to describe how everyday people use social media. They are not related. Also, the words aren’t the same and I find it very hard to believe that the metal fan audience would be somehow confused thinking that id Software is somehow involved. of another.
And yet, id Software simply creates problems for a musician because he can.
The company owns several trademarks around the word “doom” and video games; in the past month, the company also filed trademark oppositions for “ODoom” and “Doomlings.” Prior to that, Id Software filed objections to Maryland entertainment properties Doom Fest, Garden of Doom, and Doomsday Happy Hour. JB, the guy behind Maryland Doom Fest, says he didn’t pursue the brand after initial opposition from Id. It would have been too expensive, he thinks. Jeff, who tried to trademark Garden of Doom, his podcast, says he reached a settlement with attorneys representing Id Software; he says he just can’t make a movie or a video game called Garden of Doom.
At present, the fate of Doomscroll is in the hands of Id Software and the Patent Office. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is dealing with developer Doom’s opposition. A hectic trial schedule was sent out in mid-October, which stretches into 2023. Id Software may not even want the Doomscroll branding; he just might not want Mitchell to form a progressive thrash metal band that, perhaps, someone will confuse with the legendary game series.
Except it’s It will not arrive. Either Mitchell, who works at Amazon during the day, is going to go through a probably long and arduous process at TTAB or, more likely, is going to realize that such a fight isn’t worth the personal cost it would cost. And, therefore, id Software’s bullying will work as intended, to just make a small entity give up the fight.
That’s why, as we say so often, brand harassment works. What sucks.
Filed Under: doom, doomscroll, music, rock bands, trademark, video games
Companies: identification software