Rock Band Doomscroll Has Trademark App Opposed By id Software

from the knee-deep-in-the-dumb dept

id Software is not a complete stranger to silly IP enforcement actions. Between trying to own concepts that are un-ownable and occasionally trying to throw its legal muscle around to bully others into not using common words in their own video game titles, the company has proven that it is perfectly capable of playing the IP bully. But at least in those specific instances, if you squint at them, they kinda sorta seem like industry-related, almost understandable IP disputes.

When it comes to how id Software enforces its venerated Doom trademarks, however, that is not the case. The company has a history of opposing and/or sending C&Ds to all kinds of barely related or unrelated commercial entities for trying to register anything that has to do with the word "doom": podcasts, festivals, and entertainment properties. And now, it appears, thrash metal bands too.

Dustin Mitchell, like many of us in recent years, came across the term "doomscrolling" and decided that "Doomscroll" would be a cool name for his next metal band. After having the idea, he decided to apply for a trademark on the name for musical acts. And then came the opposition from id Software.

In October, Mitchell was noodling around on his guitar before bed when he decided to check his email one last time. A message from a lawyer appeared in his inbox. “Dear Mr. Mitchell,” it read. “My law firm represents Id Software LLC which owns the video game DOOM and related registered trademarks.” That day, October 13, it continued, was the deadline for Id Software LLC, or anyone else, to oppose his trademark application to register “doomscroll.” The lawyer asked Mitchell to agree to extend the deadline. That way, Mitchell and the Doom developer could find time to reach a resolution before any legal action went down.

Mitchell immediately felt funny; even a little sour. He was 10 in 1993, when Doom took the gaming world by storm, empowering edgelord gamers to head-pop demons with a bevy of firearms against the background of fiery hell. He had played Doom and Doom 2 back in the day, both of which he describes as “awesome,” and had listened to the metal-inspired soundtrack for 2020’s Doom Eternal, which he describes as “not bad.” Now Mitchell found himself in an unexpected standoff with its developer. He loved those games as a kid, he says, but “they're trying to take something away from me that is completely unrelated to them.”

Unrelated in every way. No matter what soundtracks id Software has produced for Doom titles, unless it registered its mark for the music space, that's entirely besides the point. And even if it did register its mark for musical acts or productions, that still probably doesn't make this a valid opposition. "Doomscroll" is not in any way a reference to the video game series. Instead, it's become a common slang term for how everyday folk use social media. They're not related. Also, the words are not the same and I'm finding it very hard to believe that the metal-thrashing public would somehow be confused into thinking that id Software is somehow involved.

And yet id Software is simply making trouble for a musician because it can.

The company owns several trademarks around the word “doom” and video games; in the last month, the company has also filed oppositions to trademarks for “ODoom” and “Doomlings.” Prior to that, Id Software filed oppositions to entertainment properties the Maryland Doom Fest, Garden of Doom, and Doomsday Happy Hour. JB, the guy behind the Maryland Doom Fest, says he didn’t pursue the trademark after Id’s initial opposition. It would have been too expensive, he guesses. Jeff, who tried to trademark Garden of Doom, his podcast, says he came to an agreement with the lawyers representing Id Software; he says he just can’t make a movie or video game called Garden of Doom.

Right now, the fate of Doomscroll is in the hands of Id Software and the Patent Office. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is processing the Doom developer's opposition. A hefty trial schedule was sent out mid-October, which stretches deep into 2023. It may not be that Id Software even wants the Doomscroll trademark; it might just not want Mitchell to form a progressive thrash metal band that, maybe, someone will confuse with the storied game series.

Except that's not going to happen. Either Mitchell, who works at Amazon during the day, is going to fight a likely long and arduous process at the TTAB or, more likely, is going to realize that such a fight isn't worth the personal cost it would take. And, therefore, id Software's bullying will work as likely intended, to simply make a smaller entity give up the fight.

Which is why, as we so often say, trademark bullying works. Which sucks.

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Filed Under: doom, doomscroll, music, rock bands, trademark, video games
Companies: id software


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2021 @ 3:55pm

    You're so precious, id. Sometimes you do these innocent, endearing things that make me long for the ultimate destruction of all life on this world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TaboToka (profile), 22 Nov 2021 @ 4:08pm

    Hey, this is from over a week ago!

    I heard about this already and thus I hate you for making me think I'm going crazy with a terminal case of déjà vu.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2021 @ 4:24pm

      Re: Hey, this is from over a week ago!

      Yeah; I had to double check, because I had thought I read this on TD over a week ago. Turns out it was elsewhere.

      I never understood how Id got the mark for Doom in the first place -- it came out LONG after Dungeons of Doom, for example. Not to mention Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Both of which involve shooting otherworldly monsters, and one of which is even a game.

      Makes me want to make a computer game called Doomscroller. Or seek to invalidate Id's mark by showing all the other uses of Doom that predate it in video games and related fields.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2021 @ 4:11pm

    That trademark opposition is DOOMED!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 22 Nov 2021 @ 4:24pm

    Shocked!

    I am personally shocked that the fun police this time is not Nintendo but Microsoft (or one of their subsidiaries, rather)! Considering that Nintendo of America is also located there, is there something funny in the Redmond, WA water supply that makes people litigious on IP?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Nov 2021 @ 4:21am

      Re: Shocked!

      "...is there something funny in the Redmond, WA water supply that makes people litigious on IP?"

      Yeah. American water.

      A nation which can measure 25% of it's GNP in "value of lawyers produced" will, I think, be litigious in general. And IP is in that regard just that gift to the legal profession which keeps giving.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Nov 2021 @ 6:19pm

    Let make the lawyer watch the Doom movie on repeat as punishment.

    Its like like anyone else could release a movie to harm their franchise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2021 @ 7:07pm

    You can get a trademark for almost any word as long as no one opposes it but doom is a game it should not be opposing a trademark on a rock band but big company's employ lawyers so they have to do something to justify thier wages

    Nintendo does not have own ip with doom in the title. Also gaming trademarks run out when company's go out of business there's probably small fruit companys out there with apple as a trademark
    But apple does not care as long as they do not
    Sell pcs phones or tablets.
    There was a time when a company was sueing any game that had scrolls in the title

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 23 Nov 2021 @ 3:06am

    Prior art, maybe?

    From 1964, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latveria and more previously in 1962, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Doom

    "Cities and towns in Latveria

    Doomsburg
    Doomsdale
    Doomstadt - The capital of Latveria, replacing on the map the real-life Romanian city of Timișoara. The "City of Doom" (The suffix "-stadt" is German for "city")
    Doomsvale
    Doomton
    Doomwood
    Doomcity

    Points of interest

    Castle Doom - An ancient castle with modern-day technology, home to Victor Von Doom.
    Citadel of Doom -
    Cynthia Von Doom Memorial Park -
    Doom Falls -
    Doom Island - While not part of Latveria, Doom Island is a private island, located somewhere near the coast of Japan and cloaked from the world by an invisible shield. This island is where Doom keeps hidden the mutant citizens of Latveria and a legion of Doombot/Sentinel hybrids.
    Doomsport Airport - The only airport in Latveria, which is located south of Doomstadt.
    Doomstadt Rail Station -
    Doomstadt Rathauz -
    Doomwood Forest -
    ........................
    Old Town of Doomstadt - It is located in Doomstadt and overlooked by Castle Doom."

    And this short movie about Doom Town, from 1953, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8479384/

    Or even this famous one from about the same date of publication, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Doom

    Or this name from 1761, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doom_Bar
    Or this place from across the pond, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomadgee

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 4:01am

    Aw. I was hoping id Software would have been more reasonable considering how generous they've been with the past Doom and Quake source releases.

    One would hope cooler heads prevail and the two parties come to an amicable agreement, since "Doomscroll" isn't directly related to video games.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 4:18am

    id apparently wants to join the illustrious ranks of trademark trolls such as Tim Langdell and The North Face. Congratulations, id⁠—you’re now a Baron of Hell.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 6:47am

    Metal-Up the Name

    Dūmskrôl

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Nov 2021 @ 8:39am

    and how many times has some fucking idiot agreed with the C&Ds issued? how long before the whole of the englich language and every other language becomes copyrighted, turning the planet into one of nothing other than mutes? damn ridiculous!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 10:15am

      Re:

      how long before the whole of the englich language and every other language becomes copyrighted, turning the planet into one of nothing other than mutes

      That's basically the plot of the Young Adult novel All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Wyrm (profile), 23 Nov 2021 @ 9:53am

    Single-common-word trademarks, how can this ever be a problem?

    Don't start me on common expressions either,
    Otherwise I'll rant for hours.
    Only when creativity is obvious,
    Might I consider it legitimate.

    Didn't we breach the subject earlier?
    Often it's plain ridiculous.
    Onerous it may be to corporate,
    Maybe it's time to reclaim language as ours.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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