Name change due to trademark issues, and what we’ve learned

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by BallisticInteractive, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. BallisticInteractive

    Oct 17, 2016
    Likes Received:
    As was published in (link), we recently found out someone else trademarked our old name Hellhunter, and after much legal consultation and negotiations we decided the best course of action was to change our name to HellSign (steam page).

    How we found out about trademarking issue?
    We were looking into trademarks a year back, but as we were on a short budget (indie), but we found even successful games didn’t have a trademark on launch (for the first couple of years). Given this we did what every other indie dev with a dream would do, and took the risk so we could put the money towards a better game.
    Unfortunately, last month when we decided to trademark, we found out ‘Hell Hunter’ was already trademarked, and based on legal advice, that was a problem.

    Trademark negotiations
    Given the sticky situation, Jason Kingsley from Rebellion was awesome! He not only personally replied to us, but handled it like a boss! He was open to working something out and helping us through the situation, but unfortunately at the end of the day, as indies operating out of our savings our only two options were to change our name, or cut content, needless to say, we had to change the name.

    Time/Money this has cost us
    It is important to note that resolving an issue of this magnitude is not as simple as it may sound. It will take weeks or even months in some cases.
    On top of all of that, we have lost 1 year of brand establishment and the marketing involved which has been the biggest hit of all.
    Whether its a name change, or a legal battle to fight over your name, we want to stress there is really nothing good that can come from this, and at the end it leaves you choosing the lesser evil out of an array of unfavourable options.

    Lessons learnt
    For any indie title out there whose name is important and relevant to the game, we strongly encourage you to do the proper research, and trademark as soon as you can. We learnt the hard way, and it cost us time, money, years of brand establishment and a great game name!

    Thanks for reading and hope we helped some fellow indies avoid this unfortunate situation.

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