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Warzone vs Warzone: 9/19/2022 15:51:05


JK_3 
Level 62
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How is the lawsuit going?

Did anyone win yet?

Or are the lawyers from both sides stalling in the hope the other guys surrender first?
Or perhaps the judge is just slow with judging?
Warzone vs Warzone: 9/19/2022 15:51:39


TR-8R
Level 60
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I suspect the judge is working on a mind-blowing update to this case
Warzone vs Warzone: 9/19/2022 16:03:58


Z 
Level 62
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I suspect that Activision is stalling to make Fizzer run out of money.

It’d be the smart thing for them to do.

And also despicable.
Warzone vs Warzone: 9/19/2022 18:16:11


l4v.r0v 
Level 59
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TL;DR: The district judge said Fizzer's case lacks legal merit and decided in favor of Activision. Fizzer is now appealing. This is something I (and others) had predicted and, given Fizzer's been telling us for 16 months that Activision's the one without a case, this is just another piece of evidence that you donors are getting taken advantage of.
Oh hey there's actually been an update! The last update I gave y'all was on 04/04, when Activision filed a notice of supplemental authority supporting its motion to dismiss Warzone's claim that Activision was infringing on Warzone's claimed common law trademark to the "warzone."

Since then:

On August 15, 2022, the judge granted Activision's motion to dismiss counterclaims (Warzone's claim that Activision should either stop using "warzone" or pay Fizzer money for it). This is the docket text:
1. The court declares that Activisions use of the WARZONE and CALL OFDUTY WARZONE Marks does not infringe, and at all times has not infringed,any existing and valid common law trademark rights of Defendant under theLanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a); 2. Judgment is entered in favor of Plaintiff on the Complaint; and 3. Defendants counterclaims are dismissed without leave to amend. (MD JS-6. Case Terminated) (lc)


The original case, with the California Central District Court, is now closed.

On September 9, 2022, Fizzer appealed the judgement in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The latest update on the appeal was Activision filling out the Mediation Questionnaire on September 16, 2022.

Just for the record, Warzone's infringement claim getting dismissed is what I (and sanmu and others) had predicted. Please do not take the GoFundMe as the source of truth. At best, it conveniently leaves out information to weave a favorable narrative and get your funds. At worst, it's an outright scam using donor dollars to rent-seek on the word "warzone" by trying to shake down a big company with a fundamentally meritless case and hope they drop a few pennies to make the troll go away- with you paying for the risk & fees. The case, as I've stated before on this site- and the last time I did so, Fizzer stole $9.99 from me in broad daylight over it- is emphatically not about whether Warzone.com can continue to use the word "warzone." That has never been in dispute. Activision's own legal theory precludes going after Warzone for using a word "warzone," as does trademark law: they're a protected good faith prior user. Don't trust what they say on paper? For over a year, they've had the (uncontested) "warzone" registered trademark in the EU- and last I checked, Warzone's apps are all still up in Europe.

It's about whether Warzone.com can demand money from others for using that word.

If you took the GoFundMe at face value, note that this outcome- Warzone's claims getting dismissed for lack of merit- is one it described as "ABSURD." They said last time that Activision had no case and was just going to stall and stall and stall with its war chest. So far, Activision has been the one winning on motions, including the ones to speedily resolve this case (while Warzone has been fighting to drag this case into discovery and rack up costs for both parties in the hopes Activision gives in to save money), and now the district judge has found that it is in fact Warzone's infringement claims that are meritless. I'd be surprised if the appellate court arrives to a different conclusion, when Warzone's own lawyers have consistently been relying on legal theories that ask the court to overturn its own precedents.

They lied to you about the merits of the case. They lied to you about the letter they sent in November of 2020 to Activision threatening them with "massive damages" if they didn't stop using the word "warzone." They've played the victim while demanding millions from a successful game that they had nothing to do with, all for using the same widely-used dictionary word that they foolishly gambled on making their brand.

This isn't about the little guy. This game itself, when picking up the word "warzone" for its own, steamrolled dozens of prior games and smaller indie devs with that word. Ever heard of the turn-based strategy game "Warzone" that released in October 2017? No, that's not this one, this one was a month later. Everything this game whines about from Activision- Google rankings, Twitch category, Discord- it did itself to games much smaller (and that wasn't law-breaking either; competition is just the reality of a free market, and sometimes you lose).

This isn't about the integrity of trademark law. I, like many others, found this game searching for a way to "play risk online free." For about a decade, or at least the better part of one, "Play Risk Online Free" was on the title of every page on this game's site. "Risk," unlike "warzone," is an actual registered trademark, and if you came to this site thinking it was a place to play Risk (or something essentially the same, which this game is not), that was consumer confusion. They did it until Hasbro's lawyers caught on and made them stop. They were lucky the lawyers didn't care enough to go further. This game is built on trademark infringement and total disregard for others' intellectual property. But now, with money on the line, they've apparently found integrity.

This is about funding someone's lottery ticket to a Hail-Mary windfall. You are being played.

Edited 9/19/2022 22:35:12
Warzone vs Warzone: 9/19/2022 22:49:07


καλλιστηι 
Level 61
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IDK I found this game on kongregate.
Warzone vs Warzone: 9/19/2022 22:59:22


l4v.r0v 
Level 59
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I think it also branded itself as "Risk Online" on there, but hard to confirm (not archived by Internet Archive, just see stray references on the Kong forums implying the game billed itself that way there too).

Either way, my point was that it's absurd for a game that built a substantial portion of its playerbase through trademark infringement via consumer confusion to suddenly get righteous about trademark law, demand lucre from another's success it had nothing to do with (and likely benefit from), and deceive its users into thinking they're defending the game from an existential threat along the way.
Warzone vs Warzone: 9/20/2022 00:07:42

Pulsey
Level 56
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i apologise for donating 100, hopefully the judge orders the name to be restored back to wl.
Warzone vs Warzone: 9/20/2022 00:08:50

Pulsey
Level 56
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alternatively for changing wl -> wz, fizzer could be brought to the hague for crimes against humanity
Warzone vs Warzone: 9/20/2022 00:33:48


l4v.r0v 
Level 59
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To be clear, the case getting decided via a motion to dismiss and summary judgement, not even proceeding to discovery (evidence-gathering), doesn't just mean Warlight lost. It indicates that- even if all the facts were in their favor- Warlight does not have a case with legal merit. To use Fizzer's preferred phrasing, the judge found their entire lawsuit to be absurd.

Another line from the judgement:
On November 20, 2020, Warzone.com’s counsel sent a cease-and desist letter to Activision’s counsel, demanding that Activision “change the name of its games, stop using Warzone’s WARZONE mark, and abandon the trademark applications.”

Here's what Fizzer has said about this letter while asking for your donations:
Also I never filed a C&D.
- https://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/mq3zm8/comment/gufhgam
I actually never sent them a cease and desist, they're lying about that. All I did was file opposition to the trademark
- https://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/mq3as4/comment/gueboou
Activision is lying about the cease-and-desist. I never did that.
- https://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/mq3as4/comment/gudmwr5
That's a flat-out 100% lie. I never sent a cease and desist. Activision's entire lawsuit is absurd.
- https://www.warzone.com/Forum/543174-activision-suing-?Offset=20

What an oddly specific & inconsequential thing to repeatedly lie about. When this lawsuit was announced, the community came together, believing the future of the game is at stake, that Fizzer was being straight with us, that Activision was trying to bully this site from using its name (a lie), that Activision had no case (another lie), that they made up the cease and desist out of thin air (third lie), that they were just going to stall and rack up legal costs (fourth lie), and that Activison getting a "warzone" trademark would destroy this game (the big lie).

What a shame to come to understand the truth.

The silence speaks volumes too. Earlier this year, I accidentally created a clan while trying to purchase a clan as a gift for someone else (https://www.warzone.com/Clans/?ID=657 - one of very few to ever get deleted). Mind you, this was using spare coins I'd purchased with money earlier. Having an extra clan, I named it "Activision Fan Club" (non-rule-breaking) and set the description to just a series of trivially verifiable facts about the lawsuit (e.g., that Warzone is the only party claiming infringement and demanding money, while Activision is suing for non-infringement). Fizzer saw it, quietly deleted it, pocketed the money, and for 5 months and counting has not even deigned to respond to my email asking for an explanation, replacement, or refund. Deleting a non-rule-breaking clan without explanation and pocketing the funds is not just petty- it's wrong. It's stealing money in broad daylight, believing you're above the ethical standards that bind society together. But it's the kind of thing that a serial gaslighter who lies to people to get their donations would do without a second thought or a moment of self-doubt.

I think deep down he understands what he's doing and who he is.

Edited 9/20/2022 00:43:06
Warzone vs Warzone: 9/20/2022 16:08:05


RainB00ts
Level 43
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I doubt anyone looking for a call of duty game who got here stuck around to play this game. Maybe 0.1% played for 5 minutes lol.
Warzone vs Warzone: 9/20/2022 17:50:15


καλλιστηι 
Level 61
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Warzone vs Warzone: 9/20/2022 17:56:01


JK_3 
Level 62
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Fizzer should sue Twitch instead of Activision....
Warzone vs Warzone: 9/20/2022 18:55:16


l4v.r0v 
Level 59
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TL;DR: What is the harm here, save to an unhealthy sense of possession?
I don't see a single person streaming this Warzone. The top CODWZ stream in the Warzone category has 8 viewers. The Twitch thing is annoying but I don't get why we're more mad about that than we are motivated to actually stream this game ourselves.

If there's no ongoing Warlight stream, then the two choices are to have that category be dead or have CODWZ players use it while it's idle & rack up its subscribers (who will then see Warlight streams recommended on their Twitch home page).

If there is an ongoing Warlight stream, often it rises to the top of the category anyway since it's advertised on the site. When it can't, we can just nudge the bigger streams to move to the correct category (the big CODWZ streamers use the CoD category anyway) & report to Twitch if they don't.

It may be aesthetically displeasing & offend our sense of possession of something we hardly even use, but on balance it's probably beneficial to this niche indie game to be incidentally discoverable by players of a game that has more daily players than this game has total accounts.

I doubt anyone looking for a call of duty game who got here stuck around to play this game. Maybe 0.1% played for 5 minutes lol.

It's probably significantly higher than that. Not only is Warzone/CODWZ way more searched than this game's existing marketing vector (people looking for Risk online):


But also there's probably significant overlap between players who are looking for CODWZ and the sorts of people who'd play a game like Warlight. People don't just play one video game or one type of video game. Both Warlight and CODWZ are male-coded, leaning toward kids, aggressive zero-sum games, etc. It's not a coincidence that both of them portray themselves as virtual warzones. Think of it like finding a neat chess site while looking for a Doom ROM; sure, it's probably not what you're looking for at that moment, but there's a decent chance it's something you'd like anyway. Given the sheer volume of CODWZ players & the way this game's account creation also seems to have spiked around when CODWZ/"warzone" searches spike... I'd wager CODWZ has, on balance, been a boon for Warlight.

Maybe it's better to be result #10 for a search term people actually type in than result #1 for an English dictionary word it previously made no sense to search for:


On average, CTR at position #10 is ~3% vs. 43% at #1:


If you get 1/15th the CTR on a search that is 45-100x as popular as before, that's still a 200-500% increase on clicks.

The theory of damages this whole time has been bonkers. The only believably defensive thing before was Activision registering the trademark & using it to get the apps taken down. First off, the only time this game's app got taken down over trademark stuff was when it was actually infringing on a trademark (which it had been infringing on for ~a decade)- even if Activision registers the trademark, as we've seen in Europe, they don't have a legal basis for taking down this game or any other game that had been calling itself "warzone" prior to CODWZ even existing (and probably no interest in doing so; to this date, they've made no indication that they care about this game or its usage of the word "warzone", while the only party crying foul over someone else using "warzone" has been Warlight). Second off, that's pretty clearly not what Warlight is actually going for, since the district court decided that it wasn't going to rule on the competing trademark registrations, which have presumably gone back to the USPTO.

This means their appeal to the Ninth Circuit is entirely about shaking Activision down for money with a troll infringement claim.

Edited 9/20/2022 19:10:27
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