In 2017, I launched my indie game Warzone. In 2020, Activision launched “Call of Duty: Warzone” and is now suing me to steal the name (banking on my limited resources).
I love making games and I've dedicated the last 10+ years of my life towards making exactly one game: WarLight, with a sequel named Warzone. It’s a multiplayer turn-based strategy and negotiation game inspired by Risk.
This game has been my full time job and only source of income for a decade. I have no employees, I make Warzone all by myself and hope that I can continue to work on it for the rest of my life.
It surprised me when Activision named their new game "Call of Duty: Warzone".
It shocked me, though, that they filed for the trademark of "Warzone". That's the exact same name as my game!
Trademark law says that whoever uses a name first gets rights to it, just like someone can't make a game named "Minecraft" today. However, Activision thinks these laws don't apply to them. They're suing to block me from claiming my rights to the Warzone trademark, even though I launched a game named Warzone years before them!
- The Lawsuit -
On April 8th, 2021, Activision filed a lawsuit against Warzone.com seeking to remove Warzone.com's rights to the mark Warzone. You can read the full lawsuit here, but frankly, it's absurd. Here's what Activision says in their lawsuit:
"it is inconceivable that any member of the public could confuse the two products"
Inconceivably, I get contacted all the time from people who are confusing our two games.
People tell me all about how their xbox can't connect, or how their PS4 got hacked, how they wish they could carry teammates, etc. My game isn't even on xbox or ps4. I send the same reply to each of them: "Warzone and Call of Duty: Warzone are different games. You should contact Activision."
Years ago, I set up a category on twitch for fans of my game to stream it. Today, it’s filled with people streaming Activision's game. Go look at it right now. That's my logo, can you find even one person streaming my game? The regular streamers of my game are frustrated by this, but apparently it's inconceivable to Activision that this could happen.
Activision also writes in their lawsuit that "Activision consistently has marketed and promoted CODWZ as a part of the Call of Duty franchise." They provide this picture in the lawsuit as evidence:
Except, they don't. On Activision's website, they shifted their logo up to crop out the words Call of Duty, leaving only Warzone and a bunch of black space at the bottom:
Here's excerpts from the press release Activision published when they first launched Call of Duty: Warzone: (viewable here)
"Welcome to Warzone"
"Warzone is a giant sandbox for combat and adventure"
"Warzone was developed with all playstyles..."
"In Warzone’s Battle Royale mode,"
"Warzone also features..."
"all progression earned in Warzone will count..."
"In addition, Warzone shares the same Item Shop..."
"For players who already own the full version of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Warzone automatically becomes a part of your game experience"
This can be found everywhere: Press releases, blogs, support pages, newsletters, etc. It sure seems to me that they call their game "Warzone", not consistently "Call of Duty: Warzone" as they're alleging in the lawsuit.
After all this, Activision still claims that it's inconceivable that any member of the public could confuse Warzone with Warzone.
Activision’s actions have buried us on Google and the App Stores, where we used to be the #1 result for our own name.
- How you can help -
I can’t fight Activision without your help.
100% of the funds raised in this GoFundMe will be directly used in the legal fight against Activision.
Even if you can only contribute a few dollars, it will help a lot by showing support. If you can’t help with the funding, you can help by sharing this page.
The law is clear: If you use a name in commerce before someone else, they can't sue you to get rights for that name.
For the record: I love Activision's games. There are a lot of hard-working game developers working for Activision, probably like myself, creating fun experiences for the world to enjoy. My beef is only with Activision's legal department, who is trying to squeeze an indie game out of existence.
Thank you for supporting indie gaming!
- [email redacted]
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