We've previously covered the utterly baffling issue between Microsoft and Portuguese board game maker Rui Alípio Monteiro over the trademark for Trenched, Double Fine's World War I mech combat tower defense game currently available in the Americas, but as yet unreleased across the pond in Europe.
In short: Monteiro owns the European rights to the name "Trench" and all relevant derivations thereof in several European territories. Evidently, someone at Microsoft didn't bother to check on that before attempting to release the game in Europe, resulting in a "whoopises!" situation that has thus far prevented European players from downloading the critically acclaimed title.
Up to this point, we've heard little from Monteiro on the matter, but today he finally broke his silence, releasing a lengthy statement to Eurogamer that signaled his intent to fight Microsoft on the matter, and also to release his own game under the Trench moniker somewhere down the road.
The original statement is rather lengthy and full of flowery descriptions of Monteiro's board game in question, but here are a few of the highlight paragraphs.== TEASER ==
Always bearing the international market in mind, and after legal advice, Rui Alípio Monteiro registered the brand both in Portugal and internationally. In September 2009, he was granted the Trademark Registration Certificate for Trench nº 007508501 in the European Union. On 18th June 2010 he applied for the Trademark Registration of Trench in the USA, whose registration was granted on the 15th March 2011 under the Register nº 85066103.
He also owns the international Certificates regarding the visual aspect of the game and components. Although the original idea was to produce a board game, he has also registered the trademark for electronic Games, since part of Rui Alípio Monteiro's global project is to turn Trench into an appealing electronic game, already in the development phase.
A couple of interesting things to point out in those statements. One, he states that he applied for a US trademark in June of 2010, and was granted the trademark in March of this year. How this trademark failed to interfere with Trenched's US release is unclear, though it's possible that the US trademark did not include derivative titles.
On the subject of a Trench video game, Monteiro's statement goes on to state that his game has a developer and even a publisher for Spanish and Portuguese distribution.
In regards to Microsoft and Trenched, the statement finally reiterates Monteiro's plan to fight the publisher on any attempts to infringe upon his trademark.
"This company, until the present date, has never contacted nor has any relation with Rui Alípio Monteiro. 'Criações a Solo' and Rui Alípio Monteiro, taking into account all investment already made, cannot do anything else but to obviously defend all their author's copyright and intellectual property against any infringements, as any designer would, and perpetuate their creation with the main goal of putting Trench in the international Hall of Fame of both classic electronic and board games."
Once again, this could all probably just end if Microsoft and Double Fine joined forces to re-brand Trenched in Europe. Movies do it all the time! Want to know what Basic Instinct was called in Japan? Smirk of Ice! What does that even mean? I don't know, but it still made money! And when Trenched is inevitably renamed to Super Mech Fighting Television Battlefield 120%, I'm sure it will make plenty of money then, too.
Until then, European players will just have to keep on waiting as they have been. Isn't trademark and copyright law fun?