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.