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"Battle Royale" conflicts with an Epic IP

Hi all (incoming long post),

Usually I would wait until this is resolved between Epic and myself, but due to the gaming article and social media storm surrounding PUBG and Fortnite, I figured this couldn’t really wait as I want to express how upset this makes me.

My current project that is in pending approval is named “FPS Battle Royale Template”. It seems to me like this is a pretty apt name that describes my project. I’ve received a fair amount of traction in terms of potential customers and have sold copies on Gumroad and Sellfy (side note: those sales happened before Fortnite: Battle Royale was released as of today - 26-SEP-2017).

Today I received a review checklist for my project with a FAIL marked on line number 4 which is “Title does not contain any of the following: Epic, Unreal, Paragon, Fortnite” with a note saying “The ‘Battle Royale’ section of your title conflicts with an Epic IP and may cause confusion with buyers/users of the marketplace.”

So now it appears that Epic owns the phrase “Battle Royale” for any Unreal Engine project due to Fortnite: Battle Royale’s recent release. Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought their game is just called Fortnite and the Battle Royale part is just a game mode and not the title of the game itself.

Regardless of that, nowadays, after the release of ARMA BR mod, H1Z1, and now PUBG, the term “Battle Royale” is a genre of gameplay, just another term for Last Man Standing in a Deathmatch scenario where the player starts with nothing and must loot and kill to survive. It would be the same if I made a project called “FPS Deathmatch Template” or “FPS Survival Template” or “FPS <insert genre here> Template”.

But now, just because Epic released the Battle Royale game mode of Fortnite, I am supposedly no longer allowed to use the term “Battle Royale” in my title.

3.5 months I have been waiting for my project to be reviewed and released, and now, strangely just after the Fortnite: Battle Royale release, am I getting this FAIL check, literally the SAME DAY as Fortnite’s BR mode is released. Funny enough, this is my 4th checklist, all of the checklists have the title marked as PASS.

So my first question goes out to marketplace buyers. Do you think my project would cause confusion to you since it has “Battle Royale” in the title and you might confuse it with Fortnite: Battle Royale? Or do you think “Battle Royale” would correctly describe what my project is about in terms of type of game mode?

Second goes out to marketplace sellers. Do you think Epic is being fair in failing my title? Wouldn’t this set the precedent for them to release Fortnite: Survival and fail all other current and future marketplace assets with the word “Survival” in their names? If they knew about my title when they were developing Fortnite: BR, shouldn’t they have told me a long time ago to change my project’s name as they now have IP rights to the term “Battle Royale” for UE4 projects?

From a legal standpoint (not sure how many lawyers browse this forum), does Epic now actually have IP rights to the term “Battle Royale” when it comes to Unreal Engine projects due to the recent release of Fortnite: Battle Royale?

I would like to hear your opinions.

Thank you,
Toxin

Its ridiculous behavior from Epic, and more evidence that they hate their own marketplace / user-base. Might as well say the all the shooter templates have to change their names because Unreal Tournament is a shooter.

I am definitely not an expert at stating opinions but the entire “Battle Royale” name for stuff is new? I guess a name came from an old Asian film? I would just rename it to Last Man Standing (with x# players supported). Seeing that it uses no-respawn from the original Counter-Strike days in 1998. I am pretty sure it would not hurt a good product because it doesn’t say Battle Royale in the title. Some people may not even care for modes being called “Battle Royale”. Maybe it sounds too gaudy or almost tasteless. I think just having support for 75+ players to go insane in a place is nice but too long for a title.

I do not think Epic hates its user base and its own marketplace. That is just silly.
That said - They do need to enforce their IP rights or they lose them. They recently released Fortnite Battle Royale.

That said no one can own an idea or a genre for that matter. If a Shooter template has the name “Unreal Tournament” then yes that would be IP infringement.
How ever if some one did a game called Open Tournament with similar game play to UT. That would be OK IMO.

Fun fact: “Open Tournament” was a thing at one point in UE4s early history.

For the OP change the name of the template then resubmit. That is what I would do IMO.

If I were to be technical, I released “FPS Battle Royale Template with Gamesparks” on Gumroad and Sellfy in June. Epic released “Fortnite: Battle Royale” today. I’m not going to lawyer up and force Epic to rename “Fortnite: Battle Royale” to something else like “Fortnite: Last Man Standing” because I was there first. Unless that really is the answer, which is sad. Their copyright is just to “Fortnite”, not “Fortnite: Battle Royale”. We should actually both be free to use “Battle Royale” in our titles.

And if they do have “Battle Royale” copyrighted, they should provide that to me instead of just saying that my title conflicts and can cause confusion.

You may not have heard the news. Basically the tldr. Pubg feels epic should have contacted them before making a last man standing game mode.
Just google Epic bluehole fortnite.
So that bit of a tiff may have something to do with your template not being accepted.
I think either the big wrestling company or hunger games may have ownership of battle royale.
You can call it Deathmatch as ID software really doesnt seem to care about trademarking a gamemode.
Maybe Royale deathmatch template

I did, that’s why I put the twitter storm comment first. Guess I should have said gaming article. I’ll change that.

But is it really fair to me to have to change my template name just because they release a title with the “Battle Royale” term? What if other people wanted to make Battle Royale type gameplay for the marketplace? Now they are no longer allowed to use that term just because of Fortnite? Also, as previously stated, the game’s name is “Fortnite”, and is stated like that on the review checklist, not “Fortnite: Battle Royale”.

When you say Battle Royale in terms of video games (not movies or TV production like you mentioned) nowadays, you immediately think of PUBG, H1Z1, ARMA. And now you can add Fortnite to the list. You know that the term “Battle Royale” is a game mode, not the name of the actual game itself. So if Epic really did copyright “Battle Royale”, I’m fine with changing my title, but I’m not going to bend out of my way because the term “Battle Royale” is so widely used nowadays and as soon as you read it, you should know what my project is about.

What essentially has happened, is that an indie game made with UE4 actually became a huge success, and instead of being happy to collect royalties off it they rushed to rip it off. Now, instead of allowing you to title your template appropriately, as ‘battle royale’ is going to be what people try to search for, they deliberately want you to pick something more obscure to circumvent even the slightest possibility of your product being listed before Fortnight in a search result. Doesn’t exactly sound like they care about their user-base to me.

You can’t copyright a word or phrase such as battle Royale. At best you can trademark it but I doubt they did even that. Gotta love how epic wastes no time when they think a product will create confusion with their own products, but if it’s something between two other sellers they couldn’t care less.

That being said, Epic is a private company and our use of their marketplace is at their discretion - like it or not. So while it really isn’t fair of them to force you to rename, it is within their right to request that if you’re going to use their marketplace. They can’t however prevent you from using the name elsewhere, such as Gumroad, though as you aren’t violating any trademarks by using that phrase in your project.

I don’t know the circumstances of your submission from our end, but I’ll investigate on Wednesday

Josh

You always have negative nancy’s, and debbie downers with copyright, and then you have the truly originals that deserve to protect it. Epic could’ve used something different. I mean the compass, and parachute is kind of clonish/spoofish, and enough to make someone salty. Epic might have had to license, or get approval for battle royale. I don’t know.
Copyright law has it’s own “Genre” of attorney’s so go figure.

Yeah, I confuse trademark and copyright all the time. They have a copyright on the game “Fortnite” itself. I don’t see one for “Fortnite: Battle Royale”. If it was “Fortnite: Battle Royale”, I would understand not being able to use “Battle Royale” in my title and the confusion (if any) my title would cause in the marketplace. My best friend is a former IP lawyer, who now does software development. I have already sent details about this whole thing to him so I’ll see what he has to say in terms of trademark, copyright, and IP.

And that is fine about their right to request a name change. However, I don’t understand why it comes 3 months after my first review and in my 3 previous reviews, there have been no problems with my title. If my project was passed and put on the marketplace before Fortnite’s Battle Royale release, would they have forced me to change the name of my already released project? Have they forced the renaming of already released marketplace assets because of Epic IP in the past? This is all hypothetical and doesn’t apply to my situation but is definitely something to think about. What if I released something called “Card Game Template”? Can I not have “Card” in the name because of “Cards” in Paragon? You might laugh at that question, but it is on the same lines when regarding my title.

I doubt they have that trademarked, and even if they did it’d be difficult to enforce. Think of Bethesda’s failed attempt to sue a company for using the word Scrolls in their title.

In terms of the marketplace though, while I agree it is a little over the top it is their right. Whether you released it a while ago, or tonight if they want to impose upon you a name change as a condition for using it they can. I fully agree with you about this, but just saying when it comes to a private company and their infrastructure (the marketplace) they set the rules and we play by them or choose not to play.

I understand your last sentence, and I am playing by their rules. Their rule in line item 4 in their review checklist says “Title does not contain any of the following: Epic, Unreal, Paragon, Fortnite”. My title is “FPS Battle Royale Template”. When they expand rules to cover other things without informing us, how can they impose them on us and expect us to not complain?

I’m just trying to understand the sudden change in acceptance of my title. Without context, it looks like they released Fornite: Battle Royale and are now imposing a new rule without textual update due to possible competition that my template may cause to their IP because of the name of my template. How is that going to look to other developers? Are they going to rethink about using UE because at any point, Epic can release a game and force them to change their name due to IP conflicts, especially when naming is an important part of marketing? Who is going to understand that my product is a Battle Royale type game template without Battle Royale in the name? “Last Man Standing”, to me, is too long of a descriptor and doesn’t come with the concept of looting items that Battle Royale comes with. “BR”, if I can even use that since it stands for Battle Royale, is not known by every single person to mean Battle Royale and will put two acronyms next to each other in the title which doesn’t fit right to me.

I understand that forcing a name change makes sense when the title makes no sense, doesn’t describe the product enough, or is trademarked / IP-owned by someone else. But forcing a name change that accurately describes my product just because they so happened to release Fortnite: Battle Royale is upsetting, even if they have the right to do so.

Again, this is only as it pertains to the marketplace. You can still use that name elsewhere on Gumroad, CGTrader, Cubebrush, etc. I’m not saying you shouldn’t complain, nor am I defending Epic here for forcing you to rename. Simply saying that by using the marketplace of a private company such as Epic you agree to abide by their rules, provided you are using their marketplace. Elsewhere, you aren’t required to rename your project.

Hoping to see an explanation from Epic about this here. Sounds really upsetting.

Battle Royal is not IP’d to epic and this is so ridiculous. If this is not accepted by the marketplace team, I will be so disgusted.

This is amazing, to see Epic display such behavior after its being accused of similar from Bluehole. I thought the point of the motto was that we were all in this together not just here to give Epic a free lunch! My concern is this is just the beginning, that Epic will do similar to any title on UE4 that shows such success and their recent products show they arnt above going outside of UE4 community Gameloft style. Its so sad to see Epic, who we thought was our friend, treat its community with such disrespect, to act just like those big publishers they talk down about from their moral high ground of so called independence.

I really hope you get this sorted and that its simply an error on the part of someone with a lack of understanding in the processes but with the pattern displayed by Epic (and Tencent) its hard to ignore this as a one off :cool:

This is amazing

Wow Epic. Seriously? I want to hear a word from Epic regarding this.
Shouldn’t Japanese book writer sue Epic as well in this case?

@ToxinGaming your inbox disabled?

I have been waiting for your BR asset to be approved to purchase on UE4 marketplace only, due to personal preference of having it for easy reuse in future. However, just saw your thread today and it is quite disappointing sadly.