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Bethesda Stopped 3 Men Indie Team From Using "Prey" in Their Game Title

NeoRaider

Member
Aug 1, 2015
5,787
765
625
"Prey for the Gods" is now "Praey for the Gods".

Wha!? Why are you now PRAEY for the Gods!?

Oh yea that...so we didn't want to do this but we had to change our game name from Prey for the Gods to Praey for the Gods. Thankfully we get to keep the logo but we will spell it ”Praey for the Gods". Honestly, we could make this entire newsletter about our thoughts on this. Trademark law is what we were dealing with and we aren't under any NDA so we can state the opposition in this situation, Bethesda/Zenimax.

We could've fought this and we did think about it for quite a while. Something like a trademark opposition can be long and depending on how far someone wants to fight it can be very expensive. We didn't want to spend our precious Kickstarter funds, nor did we want to have to ask for additional funds to fight this in court. Using backer money towards something that doesn't go towards the development or backer rewards felt horrible to us. Even if we did win we'd have to spend a solid chunk of our funds and in our opinion it wasn't worth it.

The truth is we initially thought about naming the game Præy for the Gods prior to our initial trailer. The logo has both the woman praying against the duality of prey, and thankfully we get to continue to use that. We figured people would have a hard time trying to type in the æ symbol in search engines etc. This was back in 2015 when we posted a trailer on Facebook and Twitter with had no idea if 100 or even 1000 people would watch the trailer. We were applying for both Prey for the Gods, and Præy for the Gods trademarks shortly after as we realized the extent of what we were making. Unfortunately, Zenimax chose to oppose our mark, as they felt both were too similar to their mark ”Prey" which they purchased from Id Software, in 2009. While we disagree with their opposition we were able to come to an agreement.

It was something that kept me up many nights, and no doubt shifted our focus from our game frequently. Worrying about the outcome if we went to trial, if we'd lose our fans or walk away from the mark and still potentially get sued for millions on trademark infringement. This is really something no starting company should have to deal with let alone a tiny team of 3. So the fact that we came out the other end intact still developing the game was a win. One that will no doubt shape our company moving forward.

https://www.praeyforthegods.com/praey-for-the-gods-newsletter-8/

I am speechless.
 

SomTervo

Member
Jan 19, 2015
15,311
2
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Scotland
Very, very lucky they already considered Præy. Otherwise would have been an extra bitter pill.

I backed these guys - hope it doesn't impact them too much.
 

Begaria

Member
Jun 2, 2013
3,784
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510
Good thing it wasn't called Prey for the Scrolls. Then they'd really be in trouble.
 

Funyarinpa

Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,035
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21
Istanbul, Turkey
Suck shit Bethesda. This is such a fucking dick move. If you're so worried about people confusing your generic single-word title with other developers' games then maybe botching an aggressive takeover and rebooting the franchise wasn't the best idea.
 

iMax

Member
Dec 5, 2012
13,409
3
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www.neogaf.com
Am I right in thinking that one of the quirks of trademark law is that companies have to vehemently defend their marks in order to justify their ownership?
 

GrantDaNasty

Member
Feb 19, 2013
2,009
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Estonia
Keep in mind, Zenimax is a company run by lawyers. Sadly, this is the exact kind of thing they'd do because copyright/trademark law is a fucking joke.
 

DrArchon

Member
Jan 28, 2015
6,176
3
0
Eat a dick Zenimax. There's a world of difference between Prey and Prey for the Gods. Namely "for the Gods". That's a whole three words in the title, and even barring that there's no way a small indie title is going to compete for mindshare with your huge-ass AAA game.
 

Alienous

Member
Jan 20, 2013
35,669
2
0
Why didn't they call it 'Prey to the Gods' in the first place? Nobody prays 'for' gods, so the pun seems a bit wonky.

Anyway, what a shitty move on Bethesda's part.
 

MUnited83

For you.
Dec 14, 2013
26,816
1
570
Am I right in thinking that one of the quirks of trademark law is that companies have to vehemently defend their marks in order to justify their ownership?
You'd be wrong and that is unfortunately a quite common misinterpretation.
 

SpaceWolf

Banned
Jul 5, 2015
14,791
2
0
The Ethereal Realm
Reminds me of No Man's Sky having to fight for its title for years after the Sky Broadcasting Company insisted on not letting them use it, simply because they had "sky" in the title.
 

Kyuur

Member
Dec 13, 2008
5,628
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0
Alberta, Canada
I'm not sure I understand, did Bethesda also stop them from using Æ officially? Honestly PRÆY would be a pretty cool title, although I get their caution for the search engine stuff, I hope they get to use it in their logo.
 

soultron

Banned
Jul 24, 2007
20,418
0
0
Toronto
Discoverability for this game will probably be awful since nobody is going to know how to spell that correctly when running text searches.
 

serenewarfare

Banned
Jul 17, 2013
20,766
1
0
Honestly these devs probably would have won had they fought it (similar to when Notch shut Zenimax BS down), but I'm sure Bethesda/Zenimax was counting on a KS game not being willing to put up a fight.
 

SomTervo

Member
Jan 19, 2015
15,311
2
0
Scotland
Honestly these devs probably would have won had they fought it (similar to when Notch shut them down), but I'm sure Bethesda/Zenimax was counting on a KS game not being willing to put up a fight.

Yeah, it would probably take all their funding (probably more) to just win the suit. Too risky.
 
Apr 1, 2013
27,148
28
660
Kent, England
Honestly these devs probably would have won had they fought it (similar to when Notch shut Zenimax BS down), but I'm sure Bethesda/Zenimax was counting on a KS game not being willing to put up a fight.

Notch didn't win anything though? He got the license to use the word 'Scrolls' in one game while Bethesda retained the trademark.
 

ReaperXL7

Member
May 23, 2011
8,208
0
0
FL USA
This isn't the first time, wasn't there an issue with that Scrolls game as well?Edit: beaten

I'd be more in the Camp that this is probably strong arming from Zenimax then from Bethesda but who knows.
 

serenewarfare

Banned
Jul 17, 2013
20,766
1
0
Notch didn't win anything though? He got the license to use the word 'Scrolls' in one game while Bethesda retained the trademark.

Technically they settled, but Notch got to keep the name of his game, which is what he wanted and what Bethesda was fighting. So I'd say he won.

Hell, the only reason Bethesda settled is because it looked like they were going to lose given their injunction in the case was denied outright.
 

noonespecial

Member
Sep 24, 2012
841
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Can single words that sound alike also elicit this kind of lawyerly response? I bet Bethesda going after a company making a game about Jesus called "Pray" would garner a few headlines.