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  1. #1
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    Blizzard getting sneakier with its trademark filings

    As we know, in the past Blizzard has filed for US trademarks on the names of its upcoming Warcraft expansions (and other games) in advance of a major announcement (e.g., at Blizzcon). This has led to the expansion name getting out into the public domain earlier than Blizzard probably wants - and starting the rumor mill.

    It seemed that this pattern was not repeated for Hearthstone, which was announced at PAX East on March 22, 2013. Blizzard did not file for a US trademark on the "Hearthstone" name at that time.

    However, a check of the US Trademark Office database reveals that Blizzard filed a US trademark application for Hearthstone on July 7, 2013. Why wait so long? Wouldn't that encourage others to file on or use the same name before Blizzard (and potentially gain priority)?

    Well, it seems that the US application for "Hearthstone" claims priority to February 28, 2013 (thereby predating the PAX announcement) via a related trademark filing in Swaziland! See: http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=86...e=statusSearch

    Under 44(d), Blizzard has up to 6 months from the earlier foreign filing to file in the US and retain the earlier filing date as a US priority date. There does not seem to be any apparent reason to file in Swaziland first unless Blizzard intentionally wanted to delay filing in the US, thereby "hiding" the name from public release in the US Trademark database until it could make the press announcement at PAX.

    What does this mean for the next WoW expansion? Well, because we're less than 4 months out from Blizzcon 2013, it's distinctly possible that Blizzard has already filed for trademark protection on the next WoW expansion name in some out-of-the-way jurisdiction like Swaziland and will wait until after Blizzcon to file in the US so the name isn't out there until Blizzard wants it to be.

    At this point, I can't seem to find any publicly available trademark databases in Swaziland to see if other Blizzard filings exist.
    Last edited by brothernads; 2013-07-15 at 08:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Pit Lord Worgoblin's Avatar
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    Hmmmm, very interesting.

    BRB, going to Swaziland to investigate.... right after I find out where the hell Swaziland is.

  3. #3
    The first interesting thread in a while. Would it even be possible to search for such filings in an effective manner? Because I'm curious if the inevitable hunt for undiscovered Blizzard trademarks that now starts will actually dig up something.

  4. #4
    I was wondering if an effective way to hide their trademark even existed. That's a good observation OP.
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  5. #5
    Watch us crash the Swaziland Patent Office's website.

    Quote Originally Posted by Worgoblin View Post
    Hmmmm, very interesting.

    BRB, going to Swaziland to investigate.... right after I find out where the hell Swaziland is.
    I got you covered bro!


  6. #6
    The Unstoppable Force Aeluron Lightsong's Avatar
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    They should be sneakier. Keeps the suspense up and adds more excitement then just *HEY I JUST FOUND THIS OUT ABOUT THE NEXT GAME WE'LL ALL PLAY* I have no hate for dataminers but I do like some secrecy.
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  7. #7
    Anyone else have to Google Swaziland to figure out where the hell it is?

  8. #8
    For what it's worth, the Swazi government doesn't seem to keep trademark applications online.

    http://www.gov.sz/index.php?option=c...521&Itemid=254

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by brothernads View Post
    As we know, in the past Blizzard has filed for US trademarks on the names of its upcoming Warcraft expansions (and other games) in advance of a major announcement (e.g., at Blizzcon). This has led to the expansion name getting out into the public domain earlier than Blizzard probably wants - and starting the rumor mill.

    It seemed that this pattern was not repeated for Hearthstone, which was announced at PAX East on March 22, 2013. Blizzard did not file for a US trademark on the "Hearthstone" name at that time.

    However, a check of the US Trademark Office database reveals that Blizzard filed a US trademark application for Hearthstone on July 7, 2013. Why wait so long? Wouldn't that encourage others to file on or use the same name before Blizzard (and potentially gain priority)?

    Well, it seems that the US application for "Hearthstone" claims priority to February 28, 2013 (thereby predating the PAX announcement) via a related trademark filing in Swaziland! See: http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=86...e=statusSearch

    Under 44(d), Blizzard has up to 6 months from the earlier foreign filing to file in the US and retain the earlier filing date as a US priority date. There does not seem to be any apparent reason to file in Swaziland first unless Blizzard intentionally wanted to delay filing in the US, thereby "hiding" the name from public release in the US Trademark database until it could make the press announcement at PAX.

    What does this mean for the next WoW expansion? Well, because we're less than 4 months out from Blizzcon 2013, it's distinctly possible that Blizzard has already filed for trademark protection on the next WoW expansion name in some out-of-the-way jurisdiction like Swaziland and will wait until after Blizzcon to file in the US so the name isn't out there until Blizzard wants it to be.

    At this point, I can't seem to find any publicly available trademark databases in Swaziland to see if other Blizzard filings exist.

    Good job OP! I'm impressed. And being impressed is rare around here. It's quite a job searching the trademark databases for every country for the next expansion name. It can't be limited to just Swaziland (however, I would start there).

    Maybe the search can be narrowed. Does Blizzard have any business in Swaziland? Are there countries the US doesn't recognize, and can therefore be eliminated?

  10. #10
    Old God Nerraw's Avatar
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    I was wondering if they were going to do something about the trademarks. That is indeed sneaky as hell.

  11. #11
    Hearthstone was probably just a test to see if they could do it without anyone noticing. If they did it again, they might file in a different place, or maybe multiple places with different names to keep people guessing (and only transfer 1 to the US). There is a good chance that Swaziland probably doesn't put their patents online though.

  12. #12
    TBH I'm not sure why Blizz would want to keep something like that secret. It helped build up a BUNCH of hype for it. (except in the case of Pandaria, which actually seemed to divide the community into believers and non-believers. :P)
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  13. #13
    The Lightbringer UnifiedDivide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aeluron Lightsong View Post
    They should be sneakier. Keeps the suspense up and adds more excitement then just *HEY I JUST FOUND THIS OUT ABOUT THE NEXT GAME WE'LL ALL PLAY* I have no hate for dataminers but I do like some secrecy.
    Yeah, I'd love to have more secrets about the game. I think that's one of the drawback of it's popularity now. There are so many websites/people able to datamine that you see everything before it even hits the servers. There is your lack of mystery and wonder, people!

    Then again, I continue to visit this site xD

    Rarely updated...

  14. #14
    Almost certainly the lack of an online, searchable system is a key factor in this new strategy.

  15. #15
    mmm clever clever Blizz. If this is really what is up then I must say I like it. I like not knowing. So much is datamined nowadays, and while I know I dont have to look at it, I cant help myself. This way I have no clue what is up and it will be a surprise at BlizzCon. Like it

  16. #16
    Meanwhile, the patents & trademark clerk in Swaziland is having the busiest day EVER.

  17. #17
    Dreadlord OGXanos's Avatar
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    Secrets be damned! Someone call this Swaziland and get a listing!

  18. #18
    Ohohohoho... I wonder if the next expansion's name is already sitting in some random country's trademark filings somewhere, just waiting to be handed over to the US trademark office?

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  19. #19
    This brought a smile to my face.

    Sounds like a made up country, I don't care if its on a map and has a government with a population to control, I won't believe it until I see it.

  20. #20
    Pit Lord Worgoblin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ximinez View Post
    Secrets be damned! Someone call this Swaziland and get a listing!
    Here's their contact page!

    http://www.ipo.gov.uk/about/contact.htm

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