22 February 2019Trademarks

Sci-fi author opposes game company ZeniMax over ‘Redfall’ mark

A sci-fi author has opposed a trademark application filed by the owners of “The Elder Scrolls” video game series.

ZeniMax Media, which owns games publisher Bethesda Softworks, filed an application for the ‘Redfall’ mark (application number 88,110,679) in September last year for classes 9 and 41, covering video games, novels, and film distribution.

Bethesda and its subsidiaries develop and publish “The Elder Scrolls” series. The latest instalment in the series, “Skyrim”, was released in 2011 and sold over 30 million copies.

Jay Falconer, author of the 2016 book “Redfall”, said in a  statement on his website that he was not seeking any money from the dispute, and was willing to offer a licence to the games company to use the name.

“I need to make sure my Redfall brand remains my property so I can continue to sell my work under that brand and someday develop a major motion picture,” Falconer said.

He added that his 2016 book gave him a prior claim to the mark., which redirects to Falconer’s personal site, applied for its own ‘Redfall’ mark on December last year, in classes 9 and 21, covering novels, audiobooks and downloadable e-books.

The company then filed an opposition to ZeniMax’s application on February 7, 2019.

According to a  tweet published by Falconer on Wednesday, February 20, his attorneys made repeated attempts to contact ZeniMax but were “ignored every time”. The author said that he was offering ZeniMax a “simple licensing deal” which would give the company the rights to use the name in a video game at no cost.

“If anyone else was to receive a ‘Redfall’ trademark, I would have to stop selling my books and audiobooks under the Redfall brand that I developed,” Falconer said.

ZeniMax have until March 19 to respond to the opposition notice. Falconer is seeking to have the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board reject ZeniMax’s application.

WIPR has contacted Falconer and ZeniMax Media for comment.

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