Could we maybe go like one damn week in 2016 without having to waste time on these idiotic trademark legal battles? This time it's Atari and Hazy Dreams of Infinity who are about to go toe to toe at an upcoming United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hearing (February 26). All of it will be over the words "Haunted" and "House."

Atari apparently holds a trademark for those words due to some old Haunted House games, the first of which seems to have come out in the early 80s. It was later revamped in 2010, with a new installment coming in 2014 that everyone pretty much hated.

Hazy Dreams of Infinity has a game called Haunted House Tycoon. You can see where Atari would get their irrelevant feathers ruffled. That is until you understand that following its bankruptcy in 2013, Atari came back with a focus on casino gaming and not on video games. Hazy Dreams of Infinity founder (also Executive Director for Georgia Game Developers Association, also organizer of the Southeast Interactive Entertainment and Games Expo) Andrew Greenberg had some remarks to make about this battle that has been going on since 2011.
"Atari has a horrible reputation for attacking independent game developers, including recently going after TxK developer Jeff Minter. Trying to claim no one else can use the words ‘Haunted’ and ‘House’ is especially ridiculous, considering games have been using the term ‘Haunted House’ in titles ever since Magnavox released a game by that name for the Odyssey in 1972.

"Atari has made outrageous claims throughout this proceeding. For instance, they say Haunted House Tycoon uses the ‘distinctive’ eyeballs of Atari’s 1982 game, which are nowhere in our art or game. Calling a tycoon game identical to their old adventure game is equally appalling. The Atari COO even claims his company invented the Tycoon game with Rollercoaster Tycoon, completely ignoring Sid Meiers’ work, Railroad Tycoon, and Chris Sawyer’s own Transport Tycoon, which came out three years before Rollercoaster Tycoon."

Atari says that Haunted House Tycoon will confuse consumers for the following reasons:
"The renown of Atari’s Haunted House trademark, the near identity of the parties’ marks, the identity of their products, trade channels and prospective purchasers, and Applicant’s bad faith as demonstrated by his adoption of many of the distinctive features of Atari’s packaging, all lead to the inescapable conclusion that Applicant’s use and registration of Haunted House Tycoon for computer game software is likely to cause confusion with Atari’s use of Haunted House for the same goods."

Holding and fighting to keep a generic trademark built on false claims of originality for something like "haunted house" sounds about as dumb as trying to trademark something as universally known and accepted as common vernacular as "let's play" or "react" or "ghost."

(via GamePolitics)