Posted on February 3, 2014, Ron Whitaker Ubisoft Says Watch Dogs Trademark Abandonment “Fraudulent”
UPDATE: Ubisoft has filed a petition to the United States Patent and Trademark Office claiming that this weekend’s request to abandon its trademark for the game title “Watch Dogs” was not made by Ubisoft or anyone representing the company.
“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.”
Furthermore, Ubisoft told GameFront in a statement that they, “are working directly with the USPTO on reinstating the trademark for Watch Dogs and it will be active again in the coming days. The matter has no impact on the Watch Dogs’ development.”
A game is afoot, as they say, and it’s one that is impossible to parse from here at this particular moment, although we could probably speculate all day about whether this is some kind of strange viral marketing. In any case, Ubisoft does want to keep its Watch Dogs trademark.
After a flurry of marketing and promotion, Watch Dogs vanished into radio silence around October 2013.
Ubisoift’s open-world hacker game had been confirmed for a 2013 release, but it was delayed into 2014 late last year. Earlier today, a sharp-eyed NeoGAF user posted a pic of the US Patent and Trademark Office’s website, which denoted that Ubisoift, the trademark holder, had filed an express abandonment of the mark. That image appears at the bottom of this post.
So, what does this mean? Well, it could mean a lot, or it could mean nothing at all. Ubi could simply be releasing an excess patent that they’ve realized they no longer need. They could also be planning to file a new trademark for Watch_Dogs (note the underscore), as that game has been marketed that way for some time. It could also be something as simple as a clerical error that they’ll soon put right.
While those possibilities are basically housekeeping on Ubi’s part, there are also some less positive things that this could signal. First it could mean that the game is getting a brand new title. To be honest this wouldn’t be surprising to me personally, as I’ve always thought Watch Dogs was a bit…odd. Finally, it could mean that the game has been canned entirely, but with all the marketing, hype, and development that’s been poured into this game, I don’t think that’s likely at this stage.
Since we don’t know, we’ve reached out to Ubisoft to try to get some clarity. As soon as they get back to us, we’ll update this post with their response. In the meantime, pass the time by coming up with new names for the game yourself.