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Wasteland 2 dev goes after tiny indie for naming his game Alien Wasteland

by Joey Davidson | May 4, 2016May 4, 2016 1:00 pm PST

Yeah, because I’m sure there’s someone out there who’s going to mistake Alien Wasteland for Wasteland 2.

Wasteland 2 is an isometric RPG while Alien Wasteland is a first-person shooter made by a single developer. inXile’s lawyers went after Devdan, maker of Alien Wasteland, for using “wasteland” in his title. Here’s how he explained it in a recent Steam update.

Because both games have almost nothing in common and no case of confusion was ever reported for almost two years since my game was first announced, I have been calmly explaining through long emails why we should have no worries about this. But I finally ended up receiving a cease and desist letter from their lawyer asking to either stop using “wasteland” or to prepare facing legal actions against me.

The game is now called Action Alien.

Here they are next to one another. The order goes Action Alien and the Wasteland 2. I know it might be tough, but see if you can spot the difference.

Here’s the thing: “wasteland” is such a generic and nebulous name that the inXile team probably shouldn’t have been able to trademark it to begin with. There’s nothing inherently unique about the name. It’s not like Borderlands or Minecraft or any other game that is so individually named that reusing those words would absolutely be trademark infringement. If someone called their game Alien Borderlands, I think there’s be room for a cease and desist.

But “wasteland?” It’s as generic as “saga,” a word King (makers of Candy Crush Saga) tried to sue Stoic Studios over for Banner Saga. Get out of here with that.

The current state of patent and trademark law is such that you need to defend your trademarks or lose them. I get why inXile’s lawyers took issue with this whole thing. It’s just massively bogus and a waste of money and time. Quite honestly, I think the USPTO was wrong for issuing the trademark to being with. Point-blank.

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Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...

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