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  1. #1

    The Dark Below Removed from the European Trademark Database [updated]

    *Edit the Last*

    **Disclaimer** Ok, this thread hasn't been active for about 3 weeks, but I believe as long as a thread is less than a month old posting doesn't constitute a necro. If it does I apologize, but I thought it made more sense to post here than to start another TDB related thread.

    Now that that's out of the way on to business: recent developments, namely the birth of Heroes of the Storm (there's an application for it in the EU now as well), have had me thinking about The Dark Below again. It's gotten me pondering, "What if HotS is unrelated to WoW, and The Dark Below *is* real?" "What will people think?" I imagine a lot of people will scratch their heads and wonder why Blizzard went through everything they did to keep The Dark Below's authenticity a secret. I came up with this, my Unified Theory of WTF Was Blizzard Thinking??™, in the Heroes of the Storm thread to try to answer that question:

    Quote Originally Posted by D4NNYB0Y View Post
    If The Dark Below does turn out to be the next expansion this is my theory as to why they did what they did:

    First off, they secretly established priority by submitting an application in a country that is a signatory to the Madrid Protocol but doesn't have an online trademark database.

    A large portion of their playerbase, or at least their players that frequent and post in forums and thus establish their word of mouth on the Internet, are under the impression that the next expansion is almost assuredly Burning Legion themed. Blizzard had planned on using Wrathion's talk of the imminent return of the Legion as a misdirect to throw the playerbase off of their trail when in fact the BL are returning an expansion after the next. Unfortunately, this misdirect worked a little too well and Blizzard started to worry that their players would be extremely upset to find out they won't be facing the Burning Legion for another couple years.

    So they devised a plan: they would release a controlled leak for TDB in the form of a filled out application form in the US (quickly followed by an application for Corgis Unleashed to establish the idea that The Dark Below could be a hoax) and then an unnecessary trademark filing in the EU which would be removed before publication (publication would prove that it was an actual Blizzard filing) either by purposefully making a mistake or simply withdrawing the application.

    They knew players would find the trademark application quickly and start furiously debating its verisimilitude and that The Dark Below would likely be linked to something other than The Burning Legion. This way they could start grooming their playerbase for an expansion that was not demon related and getting their players used to the idea of an Old Gods/Azshara/South Seas/underground/whatever expansion so that the news wouldn't hit as hard. In addition (and to help marketing get on board) this would start a feeding frenzy of hype before Blizzcon (which would also encourage more players to purchase Virtual Tickets) without actually confirming the expansion either way.

    They were planning on trademarking Heroes of the Storm anyway, but it fits into their plan rather well. It's my belief that they are either trademarking a rebranding of Blizzard All-Stars or the first booster for Hearthstone which they plan to announce at Blizzcon. Given the timing, and assuming everything goes according to plan, there's just enough time to get HotS published (not registered but published) before Blizzcon.

    It could also have something to do with:

    http://www.sonsofthestorm.com/

    I think it's highly likely that certain high profile fan sites and Internet personalities (like Jesse Cox) are in on this but under an NDA. This would be the first expansion in years (ever?) that we were unable to figure out what was coming months in advance.

    TL;DR:

    Step 1) Secretly apply for TDB trademark in small country without lots of Internets that is a member of the Madrid Union. Step 2) Let players find TDB trademark applications. Step 3) "Trademark" fake name and remove applications to make players doubt that TDB is real. Step 4) Rejoice as players are now starting to talk about expansion themes other than demons. Step 5) Sell more Blizzcon Virtual Tickets and keep more subscribers when players are used to the idea of fighting something unexpected. Step 6) Sip gin.


    Is this possible?

    Yes

    Is this likely?

    No

    But it's fun to think about.
    I realize this sounds rather far-fetched (and it is), but when you think about it all they had to do to set these events in motion is fill out a few forms and pay some relatively minor legal fees which if their plan worked at all should have been easily covered through additional revenue via increased Virtual Ticket sales and sub-retention.

    If this was their plan I'd say it worked, because I am very excited for this year's Blizzcon. xD

    I'll leave you with this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Yarathir View Post

    I've found the murloc.





    [The Gurkster]


    WHO WOULDN'T LOVE THAT FACE!!? <3


    *Edit the Twelfth*

    The Dark Below has been removed from the European trademark database. Why it was removed I don't know. In the past it has disappeared for a short time when it passed a new examination, but it has been over 24 hours at this point so I think that's unlikely.

    The next stage in the application process is publication, and going by past Blizzard trademarks that should be at least another few weeks away so I doubt that's the case.

    Theories as to why it was removed:

    It could have been removed by Blizzard for reasons unknown, it could have legitimately failed the application process due to a mistake on Blizzard's or their representative's (FRKelly's) part and must be refiled, or it could have been a hoax all along. If it does turn out to be a hoax I admit I was wrong about the verisimilitude of this application.

    I think it's interesting to note that the application was purged from the database shortly after (within one day) I emailed the OHIM requesting information specifically referencing The Dark Below, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., and TDB's trademark number. They completely ignored that question as your're not allowed to submit queries regarding specific files via email:

    Quote Originally Posted by OHIM
    Correspondence regarding a specific file must always be filed by fax, post, hand delivery, special courier service or via e-communication (for MYPAGE users only). Please always mention the file number. Note that e-mails may only be used for informal communication with the Office.
    http://oami.europa.eu/ows/rw/pages/OHIM/contact.en.do

    It's possible, if unlikely, that my inquiry regarding the application and trademark fraud lead them to take a closer look at TDB's file.

    Also, I find it interesting that for the first time ever someone is claiming that TDB was in the USPTO database for a very short time before Bibi even posted the first unfiled application form:

    Quote Originally Posted by Fatherfork View Post
    USPTO, which links to TESS to search, yes. Briefly it was there. Them MMO broke the story, and shortly later it was deleted. But it WAS filed. then 2-3 days later, it showed up on EU site.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fatherfork View Post
    I have a habit of checking for blizz marks each morning. Have done so since wrath. Saw it before MMO, but I think their exposure caused the mark to be retracted.

    Let me say this though. If it is blizz, they are either changing the name, or filing somewhere different (swaziland like mists). If it isn't blizz, then this is the greatest troll in the history of wow.

    MMO exposure and then the quick deletion though, still pushes me to beleive that it is accurate (and if the name is changed, the premise of the expansion will still be the same).
    Quote Originally Posted by Fatherfork View Post
    I'm not going to respond to everyone, so I will say this one last time. It was searchable for less than a day, as I searched for it and found it. I am sorry you did not do this, or do not beleive this, but this does not change the fact.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fatherfork View Post
    without a screen shot, you are correct, that no one will believe me. that's fine. I alerted my guild and the people that mattered to me. by the time I got here, mmo had broken the story. they already had a screen shot. should have taken a screen shot myself. MMO's was not the screen from TESS, but I assumed it was from another search engine. that was my bad. no way for me to prove it, so how about we leave it at that?
    The poster has no proof of their claim (no screencap), and it's suspicious that they're only chiming in now so take it with a grain of salt.

    *Sub-Edit* The poster went on to post a screencap of a trademark entry from the USPTO for The Dark Below claiming a guildmate took it; however, said screencap was a poorly done fake using the serial number from Reaper of Soul's trademark information so I think we can dismiss his claims at this point.

    That's it for now. Personally, I don't think this is the last we've heard of The Dark Below. We'll find out at Blizzcon one way or another.

    Or maybe sooner.

    *Edit the Thirteenth*

    Apparently, in the USPTO database at least, when a trademark is canceled, because it fails to pass muster it's still searchable, and the reason it was removed is made public as part of its file.

    Quote Originally Posted by xinjun View Post
    Nobody's got any proof of anything. All we have are hints, speculation, and some cancelled trademarks that may have been illegitimate to begin with.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also, just for reference. Here is a link to a trademark application that was cancelled because of unacceptable/incomplete information (for Warcraft!)
    http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=78...e=statusSearch


    Check the notes under Status and Prosecution history. "Registration cancelled because registrant did not file an acceptable declaration under Section 8. "
    This information is still all searchable in the public database. Therefore, it adds further confusion as to what it means when something just straight up disappears.
    Thanks xinjun for the the find.

    *Edit the Fourteenth*

    I sent one last email to the OHIM to help clarify this latest turn of events.

    Question:

    Quote Originally Posted by D4NNYB0Y
    Hello, I have a quick question for you. What would cause a trademark application to be completely purged from the searchable public database? A trademark I was following has been removed and is not searchable under the advanced search criteria: Application withdrawn, Application refused, Application opposed, or Removed from register. It's just gone.
    Response:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristin KROLZIK
    When a trade mark cannot be found in the databases E-Search Plus:http://esearch.oami.europa.eu/copla/...6180E.esearch2 or in CTM-Online: http://oami.europa.eu/ows/rw/pages/Q...earchCTM.en.do , then the CTM application is in status "deemed not filed". That means that the CTM application did not get a filing date due to lack of applicant, mark representation, list of goods and services or payment. Those CTM applications are removed by the OHIM as they never have been published.
    I'm not quite sure what lack of applicant means, but I would take mark representation and list of goods and services to mean that the application wasn't filled out properly:

    Mark representation= http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/basics/mark.jsp, and it was pointed out long ago that TDB's application had a much shorter list of goods and services than previous Blizzard filings. Lack of payment means just that.

    So essentially the application was rejected for one or more of these reasons. This means TDB could have been a hoax all along (and our hoaxster is one brave little toaster as he was the only person in the world with the balls to file (not just fill out a form but file) a trademark application in Blizzard's and their attorney's names), Blizzard could have made a legitimate mistake on the application form, or Blizzard could have deliberately misfiled the application or stopped payment to throw us off their trail. Only time will tell I suppose.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Just delete my first thread as no one is noticing it. (Please and thank you btw. <3)

    Both The Dark Below and Reaper of Souls tmed here:

    http://tmview.europa.eu/tmview/basicSearch.html

    Just search for them, the session times out.

    This is an official EU tm site. This is not fake. This is real. I repeat this is real.

    *Edit*

    Also, quick everyone panic! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    Screencap:

    http://i.imgur.com/iq28xDP.jpg

    Dear Bibi: *ahem* FIRST!

    *Edit the Second*

    It looks like we're past the point of no return of this being fake. The application has passed the Initial Priorities/Seniorities Examination as part of the Formalities Examination. This basically means that if it were fake it would have been rejected by now. So ya.

    Thanks Hitei for your diligence and Xeraxis and others for confirming.

    *Edit the Third*

    How the examination process works:

    http://oami.europa.eu/ows/rw/pages/C...gProcess.en.do

    http://puu.sh/43itL.png

    Where The Dark Below is in the examination process:

    http://oami.europa.eu/CTMOnline/Requ..._Result_NoReg#

    Plug in the name.

    It has passed Searches which is one of the last steps before the OHIM accepts the application and approves it for publication. The chance that the OHIM still hasn't checked the applicant's credentials or contacted Blizzard's counsel at this point is slim to none. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: this is legit.

    *Edit the Fourth*

    The application is now being examined for Absolute Grounds for dismissal. This is the final step before publication, and absolutely all checks for fraud should have been completed after this point.

    *Edit the Fifth*

    It has passed Absolute Grounds. Ladies and gentlemen, this was filed by Blizzard. Whether or not it's the name of the next WoW expansion is another matter.

    *Edit the Sixth*

    Some interesting info regarding past expansions' trademark applications. Thanks bluespacecow for doing the research.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluspacecow View Post
    Bit of research done tonight guys :

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/...zYTRScWc#gid=0

    As you can see none of the expansions we've had so far were completely registered before they were announced.

    So if your waiting for the trademark to pass a significant trademark milestone like notice of publication , notice of allowance or it's registration certificate know that none of those are strictly necessary for them to announce anything.
    *Edit the Seventh*

    Some more info about the trademark process:

    http://www.uspto.gov/main/faq/t250067.htm

    *Edit the Eighth*

    This is what they told us when MoP's trademark was discovered prematurely:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Chilton
    Speculation swirled recently regarding Blizzard's decision to trademark 'Mists of Pandaria', as many thought it may indicate the name of the next World of Warcraft expansion. Pandaria, in Warcraft lore, refers to the home of the Pandaren, basically humanoid war pandas you may remember making an appearance as neutral heroes in in Warcraft III. Chilton said the speculation was, "wildly overhyped." He added, "if you look at traditionally how we've handled that race it's been in those secondary products because we haven't realized it in the world. Most of the time when we do anything panda-related it's going to be a comic book or a figurine or something like that."
    Source:

    http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/08/31/to...dly-overhyped/

    Just thought it was interesting in relation to the recent Kosak and GC tweets. Thanks to Teriz for digging it up.

    *Edit the Ninth*

    This is the response they gave when Hitei emailed them:

    http://i.imgur.com/NlszZSc.png

    I also emailed them directly.

    Question:

    Quote Originally Posted by D4NNYB0Y
    Hello, I have a question regarding trademark applications and fraud. If a trademark filing has passed the Formalities examination, Classification examination, Searches, and Absolute grounds examination is there any chance that it has been fraudulently or disingenuously filed or is a hoax?
    Response:

    Quote Originally Posted by Margarita GARCIA CARBALLEIRA
    Dear Madam, Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your e-mail of 26 August.

    Please be informed that on very rare occasions some test applications are used with real data.

    Nevertheless these are detected very quickly during the examination process and are deleted from our Register and databases.

    We hope this information has been helpful but please do not hesitate to contact us again should you have any further queries or need assistance.
    Make of it what you will.

    *Edit the Tenth*

    I think this is a pretty fair assessment of her response:

    Quote Originally Posted by stormgust View Post
    That implicitely defines test application to be a test on how to submit an application, as she assumes implicitely, that this is done using fake data.
    Then she procedes to confirm that if an test application uses real data, it is detected early in the application process.

    As there's no way to discern between fraud and test application using real data - the only difference is the ill intent of the one who submitted - it's quite clear that she confirmed what everyone already assumed: No fake/fraud/test application would pass even the initial stages of the examination process (hint, that's formalities).

    Going by the amount of applications they recieve, they wouldn't get any work done if they also did a full examination even for non-real applications.
    *Edit the Eleventh*

    I sent a follow-up email for clarification.

    Question:

    Quote Originally Posted by D4NNYB0Y
    Thanks very much for your response. To clarify are "test applications" the same as fraudulent applications?

    More specifically: could an application submitted without the prior knowledge or consent of the organization or representative it was filed under with the malicious intent to defraud said organization or representative pass the Formalities examination, Classification examination, Searches, and Absolute grounds examination without being detected and deleted from the database?

    In other words could an application not filed in good faith get so far in the examination process without being purged from the system?

    Thanks again.
    Response:

    Quote Originally Posted by Margarita GARCIA CARBALLEIRA
    Dear Madam, Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your further e-mail of 27 August.

    Fraudulent applications are done disingenuously, while test applications are done in good faith.

    All precautions are taken at all times to ensure that such situations of fraud or hoax do not occur.

    In the very rare cases of possible fraud or hoax, the communication between the OHIM and the applicant or the representative is always essential and very effective for signaling such fraudulent trademark applications just as the examination process starts so the application not filed in good faith doesn't get so far in the examination process without being deleted and removed from the system.

    Please do not hesitate to contact us again should you have any further queries or need assistance.
    Again, make of it what you will.
    Last edited by D4NNYB0Y; 2013-09-27 at 01:55 PM.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Dreadlord Amerin's Avatar
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    Oh sweet find

  4. #4
    The Insane Trassk's Avatar
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    sooo either that means its the biggest troll.. or its legit.

  5. #5
    The Insane Slowpoke is a Gamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trassk View Post
    sooo either that means its the biggest troll.. or its legit.
    I think those who said "Boub is correct, it must be fake" should at least revise their stance to "it may be fake, and I hope it is."
    You don't create "justice" by destroying. That includes buildings, cars, or the careers of the people you want "justice" for.


  6. #6
    Oh yes

    Bring on The Queen of the Deep xD

  7. #7
    It's going to be about Old Gods, namely the one beneath Tirisfal. On top of that, Tyr is going to be the Thrall/Chen/Tirion of this expansion.

  8. #8
    Elemental Lord Teriz's Avatar
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    LoL! Blizzard needs to just give it up. The online community is simply too savvy these days to fall for their misdirections.

  9. #9
    Moderator Nobleshield's Avatar
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    Pretty neat. Can we confirm this trademark has actually been filed and isn't just an application like, presumably, the other one was? Although now it's all but guaranteed to be legit. One grand troll I could see, but multiples?
    NOBLESHIELD
    <Meliora> of Turalyon-US
    Raids & Dungeons Moderator | Mod Voice


  10. #10
    Well shall see, we shall see in time!

  11. #11
    Search for Wrath of the Lich King. Why is it also filed in Europe and in 2009 for that matter?
    Signature and Avatar by ElyPop

  12. #12
    Moderator Nobleshield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xilurm View Post
    Search for Wrath of the Lich King. Why is it also filed in Europe and in 2009 for that matter?
    Trademarked in Europe after the fact? Not sure how it works.
    NOBLESHIELD
    <Meliora> of Turalyon-US
    Raids & Dungeons Moderator | Mod Voice


  13. #13
    It's going to be about Old Gods, namely the one beneath Tirisfal.
    There was once Q&A, and in it Blizz said that underneath Tirisfal there is no Old God.

    Anyways. It's good to know that Blizz tried to cover this up with Corgis Unleashed, but it seems TDB may be true after all

  14. #14
    Dreadlord Ogait's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrowshire View Post
    It's going to be about Old Gods, namely the one beneath Tirisfal. On top of that, Tyr is going to be the Thrall/Chen/Tirion of this expansion.
    Tyr is the Guardian from Ulduar that is missing, correct?
    Realm First Monk & Hellscream's Downfall

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Darrowshire View Post
    It's going to be about Old Gods, namely the one beneath Tirisfal. On top of that, Tyr is going to be the Thrall/Chen/Tirion of this expansion.
    If so, that's going to be the most boring expansion ever.


  16. #16
    Its still only an application. See "Status" - A.

  17. #17



    Curiouser and curiouser...
    Quote Originally Posted by leaks View Post
    Well it's good to see the keyboard activists in full effect. Doing the laziest, most asinine thing they could think of off the top of their heads and calling it justice while making no difference.
    Quote Originally Posted by C9H20
    Blizzard effectively wants to have its cake and eat it too by pretending to have this groundbreaking war in a faction capital while at the same time being completely unwilling to portray logical consequences of such an event.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Darrowshire View Post
    It's going to be about Old Gods, namely the one beneath Tirisfal. On top of that, Tyr is going to be the Thrall/Chen/Tirion of this expansion.
    They really should bring forth some MAJOR classic lore elements/characters NOW to try combat the lowering subs. You may like MoP but for many people "Pandaland" was a turn off. Yet another expansion without something deeply rooted in pre-WoW lore archs will be a problem.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Ogait View Post
    Tyr is the Guardian from Ulduar that is missing, correct?
    And the only one who escaped with no visible signs of struggle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alanar View Post
    If so, that's going to be the most boring expansion ever.
    Just speculation on my behalf.

  20. #20
    It's just another incomplete application.

    No information has acually been filled out other than the name.

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