Game release delayed: The Day Before trademark belongs to a calendar app

A game that has been at the top of Steam's most wanted list, "The Day Before", has been going through a troubled period since its most recent delay was announced. Among some of the other controversies surrounding the game is the fact that the registration of the game's name does not belong to its developer, but to the creator of a calendar application.


Igor Demcak

Details of the case

The Day Before is an open-world survival MMO. Essentially, it is a zombie game where players can be your friends or enemies, similar to other popular games in this genre, such as DayZ or Rust. This game is the latest project from Singapore studio Fntastic, the developer that also made prop hunt horror game Propnight. Fntastic has been working on The Day Before for over four years, with, according to its website, around total of 200 people working at the studio. Fntastic announced The Day Before in April 2021 with an impressive reveal trailer. In May 2022, it was delayed to March 2023.

Ever since its announcement almost two years ago, The Day Before has consistently enjoyed a spot near the top of Steam's most-wishlisted games list, which came as a surprise from a game being developed by a rather unknown studio. However, the game is now suffering a major setback, as they have been contacted by another company claiming that their game name is too similar to their registered trademark.

According to The Day Before’s developer, Fntastic, right before the release, Steam blocked the game page at the request of a private individual, because of the name The Day Before.

twitter screenshot

Source: @FntasticHQ

Months after the game was announced back in 2021, a creator of a calendar app acquired rights to a trademark on the word mark “The Day Before”. According to Kotaku, the US trademark granted to the calendar app covers “artwork, artistic performances, music, show entertainment, leisure activity [and] online [games].” Despite the fact that the companies involved in the dispute seem to be operating in different industries, the owner of the trademark has the right to oppose the release of the game and, if successful in further legal proceedings, force the game to go through a major rebrand.

Trademark registration advice for gaming industry

Gaming and software, in general, are highly-competitive industries. Once you have your game or product out there, there is not much preventing a competitor from blatantly copying your design and profiting off your hard work. In the wrong hands, your brand can suffer irreparable damage and dilution of your business reputation.

Trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one company from the goods or services of other companies. In practical terms, trademarks are closely connected to branding as it is often the visual element alongside the name of a brand that represents the trademark distinguishing the company’s product and service offerings from those of competitors. Some of the common questions business owners face is when exactly is the right time to register a trademark? Is it better to get it before launching products and services or wait until your brand establishes itself in the marketplace?

Timing is everything, and this is especially true when it comes to trademark registration. One of the most significant issues business owners can encounter when their brand gets recognition is the malicious practice known as “brand squatting” - somebody else registering brand assets associated with their company or product to later sell it for profit or to leverage the brand’s success. In order to prevent this from happening, it is best not to delay filing trademark registration for the most crucial 

Having a registered trademark from the very start will help you to avoid multiple potential issues your business might face when it comes to legal disputes over trademark ownership. Trademark laws work in favour of those who registered their brands according to official IPO requirements and grant protection even while the trademark application is still pending. The validity of a registered trademark is dated back to the day the application was submitted, meaning it will always be prioritized for any subsequent applications.

Trademark, therefore, offers numerous benefits for creators of PC games, including lasting protection from infringement and easier resolution of legal disputes like the one The Day Before is currently facing. Team Trama has put together concise brand protection advice for the gaming industry to build an ultimate brand protection strategy through trademark registration of unique game assets.

Igor Demcak
Igor Demcak

Trademark Attorney

Founder & CEO of Trama

7 year experience in IP protection

Gain more insights about the importance of brand in your industry through our selection of indicators and case studies.

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