Yesterday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office sent a suspension letter to Blizzard Entertainment suspending their application for the trademark for Overwatch. The reason being is that the trademark is already registered with a company in Arkansas called Innovis Labs, Inc.
It appears that Innovis Labs has released a mobile application called Overwatch which is meant to be used by competitive Paint Ball players. It was founded by 18 year old Josh Moody who is also the CEO for Innovis Labs and their trademark for Overwatch was filed September 5, 2013 where as Blizzard filed their application April 1, 2014.
Overwatch is currently available for iPhones and has no Android version yet with the last update hitting December 14, 2014. It has some decent reviews (but only 11 total) and based on their website there doesn’t seem to be much of an online community for the device as of yet.
You can read the full suspension letter here:
In a previous Office Action, dated July 11, 2014, the trademark examining attorney noted a prior pending application that, if it matured to registration, may result in the refusal of applicant’s mark under Trademark Act Section 2(d) because of a likelihood of confusion between the two marks. See 15 U.S.C. §1052(d); 37 C.F.R. §2.83; TMEP §§1208 et seq.
Rather than issue the noted Office Action, the trademark examining attorney should have suspended the application. The examining attorney apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the issuance of said Action.
The trademark examining attorney is suspending action on the application for the reason stated below. See 37 C.F.R. §2.67; TMEP §§716 et seq.
THE APPLICATION IS SUSPENDED
As previously noted, the effective filing date of the pending application identified below precedes the filing date of applicant’s application. If the mark in the referenced application registers, applicant’s mark may be refused registration under Section 2(d) because of a likelihood of confusion with that registered mark. See 15 U.S.C. §1052(d); 37 C.F.R. §2.83; TMEP §§1208 et seq. Therefore, action on this application is suspended until the earlier-filed referenced application is either registered or abandoned. 37 C.F.R. §2.83(c). A copy of information relevant to this referenced application is attached.
So what does this mean for Blizzard? Well, it means they may not be able to use the name. However, this isn’t a Blizzard Dota style of problem here with a large company like Valve. This is a startup run by an 18 year old. What’s likely to happen is Josh Moody will become a little richer in the wallet which will be a great start to his company. Basically, Don’t Panic, Overwatch probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.