NetEase and Bethesda Softworks are stepping into the ring for what looks to be a hefty round of litigations over something called Fallout.
Last month, an application was submitted by Shenzhen Chengke Yu Technology to have the United States Patent and Trademark Office register “FALLOUT” for unknown reasons. The filing currently remains in stasis as the examining attorney wants to know what the trademark will be used for in commerce.
There are two points of interest here. Fallout, which everyone knows, is the post-apocalyptic role-playing franchise owned by Bethesda Softworks. There’s no way that the publisher will be letting anyone get away for copyright infringement, even if the trademarked logo in question has a different styling.
Secondly, the trademark filing was apparently done on the behalf of NetEase. The published documents of the applicant mention the “@163.com” domain in the correspondence email address. The website is not only owned by NetEase but also marks its official presence. Since the company manages online games for PC and mobile in China, the Fallout trademark is most probably for a game, which is where the original Fallout developer is expected to show up.
Bethesda Softworks has a history of lawsuits over trademark infringement and particularly when it comes to its beloved post-apocalyptic franchise. The publisher sued Interplay Entertainment in 2009 to terminate a Fallout-themed online game. It also went after Behavior Interactive last year because its Westworld tie-in mobile game had too many similarities with Fallout Shelter, which Behavior Interactive developed in the first place.
It’s pretty evident that Bethesda Softworks doesn’t like anyone coming close to one of its intellectual properties. Provided that NetEase is really digging its claws into a game called Fallout, the Chinese technology behemoth will eventually be receiving legal notices from Bethesda Softworks.
As far as the franchise goes, Fallout 76 remains to be a thorn in everyone’s side. Its T-51 collectible helmets are being recalled due to a risk of mold, the same ones that sparked the canvas-bag controversy when the game was launched. The game itself seems unfixable as yet another patch makes it worse than before.
Maybe NetEase feels that it can do better with Fallout. What’s disappointing is that players probably feel the same way right now. Bethesda Softworks has somehow lost its way in recent years. The publisher will hopefully find its groove with Starfield, a somewhat anticipated sci-fi offering.