3D Realms is a seasoned game developer, originally founded as Apogee Software, and it has been around since the late 1980s, developing dozens of games for DOS and Windows. The company is now a publisher of indie titles such Voidpoint’s Ion Maiden (Our Preview), a retro-style first-person shooter in the tradition of Quake, first released on Steam Early Access in February. It has a loyal fanbase by the looks of its Steam review score, and it’s most likely building up to a solid final release this year. However, the game might have to change its name following a trademark lawsuit filed by the veteran heavy metal band Iron Maiden.
According to the metal music site Blabbermouth, the band’s holding company Iron Maiden Holdings Limited accuses 3D Realms of creating “confusion among consumers,” citing the fact that the names are nearly identical, and the trademarks very similar in appearance, sound, and overall commercial impression. What’s more telling is a particular passage from the lawsuit:
Without even examining the content of the Ion Maiden video game, confusion is undeniable because of the virtually identical use of the iconic IRON MAIDEN mark for video games, a product that IRON MAIDEN has been selling for nearly 20 years, and shirts, a product that IRON MAIDEN has been selling for nearly 40 years.
Not too unlike the Scrolls lawsuit between Bethesda vs Mojang a few years ago, it just looks like litigious lawyers grasping at straws to defend the band’s trademark, which is itself based on the medieval torture instrument. The Ion Maiden publisher and developer have issued a statement pointing out the absurdity of the lawsuit, which is all they can do at this point.
[The lawsuit] claims our main character, Shelly Harrison, originally debuting in 2016’s Bombshell, is based on their musician Steve Harris; our skull bomb icon found in-game is based on their skeleton mascot Eddie; our logo in itself is based on theirs; and other frivolous claims anyone who has played Ion Maiden would find more over the top than Shelly’s “Loverboy”, her signature 18-round triple-barreled revolver.
It’s as thin as trademark lawsuits can get, but the company has stated that they will “review their options once they receive official notice of the lawsuit and will make any necessary decisions at the appropriate time.” It took about a year for Bethesda to settle the Scrolls lawsuit with Mojang, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. We can only hope 3D Realms and Voidpoint get to keep the title Ion Maiden, which is indeed a great title for a retro shooter.
What are your thoughts on the trademark lawsuit? Will it hold water in court? Let us know in the comments below!