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European 'Trench' Trademark Owner Responds to Trenched Name Change

Trademark holders allege Microsoft wasn't very communicative during the process.

Both Trenched and Trench (the board game) pull from the trench-style warfare in World War I.

There is a strong likelihood that if you've played Double Fine's excellent action-strategy hybrid Trenched, you're probably someone from North America. Double Fine and Microsoft had every intention of releasing Trenched in Europe this summer, too, but a last-minute copyright issue pulled everything to a grinding halt.

A Portugese board game called Trench, designed by Rui Alípio Monteiro, was the problem. Besides the name, the issue becomes pretty clear just by watching the Trench trailer, which sports a World War I motif.

Instead, Trenched will arrive as Iron Brigade in September. Double Fine and Microsoft will have to alter various in-game assets to make the necessary tweaks to avoid trademark infringement with Trench.

When Trenched didn't show up in Europe, Microsoft and Double Fine didn't say very much. Microsoft blamed the issue on "unexpected challenges with distribution," while Double Fine simply apologized.

Monteiro released a statement to Eurogamer, explaining the history of his Trench trademark. Monteiro planned to release a board game, but his trademark covered games, too, and he'd been exploring the idea of an electronic version of Trench.

After the name change was announced, I contacted Monteiro and heard back from Phillip Moringer, the manager of Runadrake. Runadrake's responsible for the actual production of the Trench board game and the possible video game version.

"We at Runadrake would like to clarify a major misunderstanding," said Moringer.

A look at the still-in-production Trench, scheduled for a release this fall in Europe and North America.

Moringer said the video game adaptation is "is in development and does not have a release date," while the much more real board game is scheduled for October in Europe and November in North America.

"We are really [saddened by] Microsoft's lack of direct communication," he said over email. "Had there been an open line of communication, the delay would have been solved in no time and all player would have been able to enjoy both games earlier."

Trenched was the latest in a series of downloadable one-offs for Double Fine.

Remember, Runadrake is a Portugese company, so excuse the slightly awkward English responses to my questions.

"They made their decision to rebrand and spend a lot of extra effort and resources, that they could have used to create additional goodies in the game for all players, and that includes me personally," he continued.

Moringer wished Turneched-turned-Iron Brigade the best of luck, as he was looking forward to playing it.

"We had no intention in creating any delay to this game, especially since I personally would like to try the game out too," he concluded.

Throughout this process, Microsoft and Double Fine have remained--and continue to be--quiet.

Double Fine has said it's considering downloadable content for Trenched, but no specific plans have been announced.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
Both Trenched and Trench (the board game) pull from the trench-style warfare in World War I.

There is a strong likelihood that if you've played Double Fine's excellent action-strategy hybrid Trenched, you're probably someone from North America. Double Fine and Microsoft had every intention of releasing Trenched in Europe this summer, too, but a last-minute copyright issue pulled everything to a grinding halt.

A Portugese board game called Trench, designed by Rui Alípio Monteiro, was the problem. Besides the name, the issue becomes pretty clear just by watching the Trench trailer, which sports a World War I motif.

Instead, Trenched will arrive as Iron Brigade in September. Double Fine and Microsoft will have to alter various in-game assets to make the necessary tweaks to avoid trademark infringement with Trench.

When Trenched didn't show up in Europe, Microsoft and Double Fine didn't say very much. Microsoft blamed the issue on "unexpected challenges with distribution," while Double Fine simply apologized.

Monteiro released a statement to Eurogamer, explaining the history of his Trench trademark. Monteiro planned to release a board game, but his trademark covered games, too, and he'd been exploring the idea of an electronic version of Trench.

After the name change was announced, I contacted Monteiro and heard back from Phillip Moringer, the manager of Runadrake. Runadrake's responsible for the actual production of the Trench board game and the possible video game version.

"We at Runadrake would like to clarify a major misunderstanding," said Moringer.

A look at the still-in-production Trench, scheduled for a release this fall in Europe and North America.

Moringer said the video game adaptation is "is in development and does not have a release date," while the much more real board game is scheduled for October in Europe and November in North America.

"We are really [saddened by] Microsoft's lack of direct communication," he said over email. "Had there been an open line of communication, the delay would have been solved in no time and all player would have been able to enjoy both games earlier."

Trenched was the latest in a series of downloadable one-offs for Double Fine.

Remember, Runadrake is a Portugese company, so excuse the slightly awkward English responses to my questions.

"They made their decision to rebrand and spend a lot of extra effort and resources, that they could have used to create additional goodies in the game for all players, and that includes me personally," he continued.

Moringer wished Turneched-turned-Iron Brigade the best of luck, as he was looking forward to playing it.

"We had no intention in creating any delay to this game, especially since I personally would like to try the game out too," he concluded.

Throughout this process, Microsoft and Double Fine have remained--and continue to be--quiet.

Double Fine has said it's considering downloadable content for Trenched, but no specific plans have been announced.

Posted by onimushroom

Good, maybe I'll get to play this now.

Posted by MadLaughter

Sounds like BS to me.

Posted by Carousel

I don't like you, Mr.  Monteiro. 
Not. One, Bit.

Posted by MrKlorox

Heh... they SHOULD have called it "Turneched."

And of course the internet is full of bitter, biased people, so his comments are falling on (mostly) blind eyes.

Posted by Sooty

Trenched is fun for maybe one night / a few hours with friends but that's all you need to experience pretty much everything. I think the price is too much, I wonder how it will sell in Europe now that the hype up to its failed release has gone.
 
Then again there's been many games priced slightly more than what they should have been on XBLA.

Posted by Jeffk38uk

Still wish it will come to PC, but glad its finally coming to Europe regardless.

Posted by jozzy

"We are really [saddened by] Microsoft's lack of direct communication," he said over email. "Had there been an open line of communication, the delay would have been solved in no time and all player would have been able to enjoy both games earlier."

He should have at least mentioned in this quote what kind of agreement they could have reached so easily and quickly. Sum of cash, promise to publish or advertise their Trenched game, ...?

Posted by DharmaBum

There should be something substantial DLC-wise for this game or else I might as well remove it from my hard drive; there's nothing worth going back to once you've beaten all the missions and seen all the loot.

Posted by AlisterCat

Such a terrible name. I need to know why they chose it.

Edited by soralapio

That's the thing that really eats me up about this whole process: nobody's saying shit. Well, except the portuguese guy and he's mostly saying how amazing his board game will be (he seriously said it stands shoulder to shoulder with chess, checkers etc). I remain skeptical.

Microsoft still haven't said anything to even really acknowledge that there are problems, much less apologized to Europeans for the delay, which was all their fault. I understand Double Fine probably couldn't even say anything because Microsoft are the publisher, but overall it just feels like nobody gave much of a shit about Europe. Once again. Remember, guys: we're a valued and important market area! Keep repeating that or you'll never believe it!

Edited by whatisdelicious

Oh lord. I'm just going to avoid the comments on this one. I don't feel like reading another 150 comments on why Double Fine is our new lord and savior and Trenched is so awesome and HOW DARE this guy who legally owned the trademark for the name over a year before Trenched even existed try to stop Trenched from being released in Europe? Because that's totally his fault, and not Microsoft and Double Fine's fault for picking a super generic name without taking 5 minutes to do their jobs and check to see if it was taken first. YEAH. FUCK THAT PORTUGESE GUY. VIDEO GAMES. TIM SCHAFER. WOO.

Posted by zombie2011

This dude wanted MS to pay him, i'm glad they didn't.

Posted by SockLobster

Turnenched is a way better name good going Pat

Edited by LTSmash
Edited by ProfessorEss

"We are really [saddened by] Microsoft's lack of direct communication" 
OR: 
"We are really [saddened by] Microsoft's lack willingness to pay the ridiculous amount of money we asked for"  
  
"They made their decision to rebrand and spend a lot of extra effort and resources..." 
This just makes it seem more likely. A+B=C. If the time and resources to rebrand were greater than the sum being asked for permission, those resources wouldn't have been spent on rebranding.

Posted by edgefusion

"Turneched" 
 
Throw this article on the ever growing mountain of articles by Patrick Klepek that haven't been proof-read properly.

Edited by MSUSteve

Please excuse this awkward sentence.  English is only his first language. 

@patrickklepek said:

"Moringer wished Turneched-turned-Iron Brigade the best of luck, as he was looking forward to playing it."

Posted by Evandro

Nice work on the story, Patrick. 
 
Just a small pet peeve of mine though: don't mistake copyright, trademarks and patents. :)  In this case it was a trademark dispute, not copyright.

Posted by Afroman269

Turneched.

Posted by Ironlink
@MrKlorox said:

And of course the internet is full of bitter, biased people, so his comments are falling on (mostly) blind eyes.

QFT.
Posted by notsonic

"Runadrake is located in Portugese,"

Posted by SomeJerk

If MS had communicated, this would not have happened. Europe would have had Trenched already. The trademark owners are speaking the truth.

Posted by MisterMouse

"Turneched" ... havent heard of that game.

Posted by I_smell

HA! Wow, what a crazy response, "You could've released it ages ago if you would've just sat down n talked with us".

With all the corporate force-fields around this I don't think we'll ever get a regular story of what went down, but this guys version is pretty fun.

Posted by Sweep

Fair play to the guy, he obviously ended up in a shitty situation which he is trying to resolve, and he seems nice enough. I find it hard to believe that he would do something like this maliciously, or even if he had the ability to. I blame this entire situation on the arrogance of Microsoft for assuming they could release whatever they want without even checking the name was available, then clamming up instead of just talking to the guy and working something out.

Having said that, I find Mr. Moringer's poor grasp of the English language suspiciously endearing...

<.<

Kudos, Patrick, for getting in contact with the Portuguese dude :D

Moderator
Posted by JayPee

So, the board game isn't even out yet!? Hmm well here's a couple of options that would have, as this spokesperson said, had "no intention in creating any delay to this game":

1. Just let it come out and change the name of your game (I mean what even is that picture of!?)

2. Just let it come out and ride the coat-tails of this (probably) superior product.

Man, portugal is so tiny in the grand scheme too, I highly doubt anyone but the real board-game aficionado would have ever even heard of this Trench game, like ever. I call major BS on the part of the statement I quoted earlier.

Posted by Shimakaze

You can buy Trenched in Norway so... is it a EU thing?

Posted by NowSayPillow

He wasn't protecting his !@#$ing brand he just wanted to get paid off. Fuck this dude.

Posted by steevl

This whole thing is such a shame. I loved Trenched and it's a shame people in Europe couldn't play it at the same time. I finished it, got just about all the loot, and now there's not really anything else for me to do. I'm hopeful about DLC, though.

Posted by phrali

"We are saddened by Microsoft's lack of communication"
 
BS
 
meant to say "We are saddened that they didn't give me some money"
 
it's rare that i stick up for microsoft, but in this case, screw this monteiro guy. no one gives a crap about your stupid board game.

Posted by Mr_Skeleton

I kind of feel bad for the guy.

Posted by kalmis

Amazing to see that the corporation size of Microsoft didn't check the name before hand

Posted by ionkinetic

Im just going to get Trenched while playing Iron Brigade then. But after all this time I'll still call it Trenched, there is just nothing they can do about it.

Posted by Aishan

I love how everyone here knows exactly what evil ulterior motives Mr. Monteiro had. It's definitely not possible he's being honest here, no sirree.  He single-handedly stopped the release in Europe, and he only did so out of spite, and this is just not on. 
 
After-all: My Toy is More Important Than Your Toy.

Posted by AuthenticM

turneched

Posted by nutta27

I bet the dude was in talks with Microsoft but asked for too much for the rights to use the name so Microsoft thought "fuck him" and just got double fine to change the name.

Posted by JoeyRavn

@whatisdelicious said:

Oh lord. I'm just going to avoid the comments on this one. I don't feel like reading another 150 comments on why Double Fine is our new lord and savior and Trenched is so awesome and HOW DARE this guy who legally owned the trademark for the name over a year before Trenched even existed try to stop Trenched from being released in Europe? Because that's totally his fault, and not Microsoft and Double Fine's fault for picking a super generic name without taking 5 minutes to do their jobs and check to see if it was taken first. YEAH. FUCK THAT PORTUGESE GUY. VIDEO GAMES. TIM SCHAFER. WOO.

It's funny, because you were the one to say that. GG.

Posted by Volfied

Wow, you guys are assholes. Nothing is stopping MS from putting out their version of the story.

Posted by atomic_dumpling
@Mr_Skeleton said:

I kind of feel bad for the guy.

Me too. He was probably looking forward to the yacht and the hookers.
Edited by fabiosooner
@MSUSteve
Also, it's Portuguese, not 'Portugese'. 
 

@edgefusion

You nailed it.
Posted by cyraxible

Yeah, he's just sad he didn't get paid so he would stop whining. However I'm sure he's pleased that this stupid shit has given him a nice platform to stand on.

Posted by whatisdelicious

@JoeyRavn: It wasn't genuine. I think the people saying this is Monteiro's fault are being pretty dumb.

Posted by lizzard2

i see there is not many upcoming business people here.. can i order a happy meal please?

Posted by Gordo789

wow, everyone loses.  

Posted by Soviut

In my opinion, Iron Brigade, while generic, is actually a better name for the game.

Posted by wolf_blitzer85

@Jeffk38uk said:

Still wish it will come to PC, but glad its finally coming to Europe regardless.

Pretty sure it is coming to PC eventually. I remember Double Fine dudes saying something about it on during the Trenched TNT if I'm not mistaken.

Posted by Kyodra

@Aishan said:

I love how everyone here knows exactly what evil ulterior motives Mr. Monteiro had. It's definitely not possible he's being honest here, no sirree. He single-handedly stopped the release in Europe, and he only did so out of spite, and this is just not on.

After-all: My Toy is More Important Than Your Toy.

I agree, people on gaming sites tend to be overly defensive of their hobby and the companies, it just looks incredibly childish. If Monteiro owns the rights for Trench and variations on that word in Europe, why should they allow another company to use it without being compensated? Microsoft would have done the exact same thing if the roles were reversed.

People should be blaming Microsoft for not doing their research on if they can actually use the name Trenched in all of the release territories. That way the game would have come out in Europe on America's release date, maybe with a different name, but still on time. But no, gamers rather call a board game that they've never heard of crap and antagonise it when the root of the whole problem wasn't at their end.

That said, I do feel bad that Trenched got delayed, but all of this was completely avoidable.

Posted by Krakn3Dfx

Translation:

"I'm really bummer that Microsoft won't pay me money to use a word that it's in the dictionary that I somehow feel entitled to fucking be paid for."

Fuck off dude, if you didn't intend conflict, you wouldn't have said anything in the first place.

Posted by KillyDarko
@Kyodra said:

@Aishan said:

I love how everyone here knows exactly what evil ulterior motives Mr. Monteiro had. It's definitely not possible he's being honest here, no sirree. He single-handedly stopped the release in Europe, and he only did so out of spite, and this is just not on.

After-all: My Toy is More Important Than Your Toy.

I agree, people on gaming sites tend to be overly defensive of their hobby and the companies, it just looks incredibly childish. If Monteiro owns the rights for Trench and variations on that word in Europe, why should they allow another company to use it without being compensated? Microsoft would have done the exact same thing if the roles were reversed.

People should be blaming Microsoft for not doing their research on if they can actually use the name Trenched in all of the release territories. That way the game would have come out in Europe on America's release date, maybe with a different name, but still on time. But no, gamers rather call a board game that they've never heard of crap and antagonise it when the root of the whole problem wasn't at their end.

That said, I do feel bad that Trenched got delayed, but all of this was completely avoidable.

Pretty much this.
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