Tim Pool Retains Lawyer For Legal Battle Against Studio FOW Over Subverse Porn Game
Subverse vs Tim Pool

[Update 4/14/2019:] Tim Pool reached out to explain that there’s no lawsuit yet, he’s only retained a lawyer. He also stated that the trademark filing has nothing to do with ownership, since the earliest use was stated as 2015 in the filing. Pool went on to say that the purpose of the video was to inform his community what was happening, and since he says Studio F.O.W., was only responding to lawyers that the point was to send letters and discuss possible solutions. Pool sent the following message to One Angry Gamer, stating…

“In the US a trademark filing has nothing to do with ownership. IN the filing you can see our earliest use is in 2015. The filing was in response to FOW saying they would essentially only respond to a lawyer lot of people don’t get this. I explained in the video I had to dox myself for the USPTO filing. Either way I think it ends with my Subverse being killed off because unfortunately porn is toxic and controversial.

 

“Also I never filed a lawsuit. FOW said if I wanted to engage them id have to send a lawyer. the point of the video is for my audience to know whats happening and why the first step is sending a letter and discussing solutions which would likely be some small change.”

One of the solutions people suggested was possibly changing small things about the name for Studio F.O.W’s Subverse, or possibly adding a subtitle to the game to separate it from Pool’s Subverse channel. I did ask Tim Pool about this and he explained…

“[…] the issue is whether or not this grants me legal protection for the trademark in the future

 

“If I don’t defend the trademark then I can’t defend it in the future. And although we are substantially smaller in terms of game development we absolutely are planning on releasing video games. It put us in another unique position in that now people are claiming I’m only including the video game thing to try and win or something.

 

“Here’s what it comes down to: I have been actively selling content, merchandice, and producing media under this name for years. They just announced [the game] a couple weeks ago. They could add like 1 or 2 letters or something it would probably work. But when I asked they just told me to have my lawyers contact them.”

Pool also avoided being definitive about the subtitle option because he said he would have to speak with a lawyer first to see if it’s a viable solution.

[Original Article:] Journalist and YouTube content creator Tim Pool has retained a lawyer for an impending legal battle against Studio F.O.W. Yes, the same studio that brought you Kunoichi: Broken Princess and the upcoming porn-based, strategy-RPG, Subverse.

The trademark row is bubbling up over the use of the word “Subverse”. For those of you who may not know, Tim Pool runs a Subverse channel on YouTube and has a website located at Subverse.net, which has been active since July of 2015, although he claims it’s been part of his business network since April of 2015. He’s been working for years to bolster the appeal of the Subverse brand and establish a hard-hitting alternative journalism outfit to counter what’s being put out by the mainstream media.

However, Pool began to notice that with the exciting erection of popularity from the Subverse Kickstarter hosted by Studio F.O.W., the Google search results have been quickly and surely occupied by the upcoming game, which he feels is infringing on his own brand. On April 13th, 2019, Pool did a video about his contentious experience with communicating with Studio F.O.W., as well as his past run-ins with the company.

The half-hour video from the impassioned Pool highlights his anger and frustrations over the matter. He gives a somewhat relevant synopsis at the 18 minute mark, where he airs his grievances by saying…

“I had to retain a lawyer. It sucked up some of the resources we had that could have been used for these other projects – like please understand that flying out from the east coast to the west coast and staying at a hotel for several days, to do these sitdown interviews, and spend the days working, and film with someone like Brett, it costs a couple thousand dollars per shoot. It’s not cheap and it’s not easy to do this.

 

“I am not making that much money on this content. I. Am. Not. It is a loss whenever we make a big video, and that’s why most of the videos I do are sitting in a room, because spending thousands of dollars to travel overseas and cover stories is extremely difficult.”

Pool explains that with their SEO being slowly cannibalized by Studio F.O.W’s Subverse, people are now under the impression that he’s associated with the porn company and the porn-RPG.

He notes that he was contacted by Sargon of Akkad who congratulated him on the Kickstarter, even though he’s not associated with the Subverse Kickstarter, which has already surpassed $674,737 with 15,700 backers as of the writing of this article. According to the Kickstarter page, it still has 17 days to go before crowdfunding wraps up.

If you’re unfamiliar with the project, you can see the pitch video below.

Now while this might seem like an easy way for Tim Pool to win against Studio F.O.W., since he already filed trademarks for Subverse in the United States, he does point out that Studio F.O.W., is not located in the United States. They’re a U.K., based company and they have the trademarks filed for use in the U.K.

So this is going to end up being an international trademark dispute. So far, according to Pool, Studio F.O.W., has not been willing to give up the name Subverse. I do wonder if a happy compromise would be a subtitle to the name? Like Subverse: Deep Galactic Probe or Subverse: The Call of Uranus? Or would that still be too close to Pool’s home?

Now some people might be wondering why Tim Pool is making an issue of this now even though another game already exists on Steam called Subverse. Well, Pool explains that that other game has not impeded or disrupted the SEO or visibility of his own outlet, so it wasn’t an issue. But with Studio F.O.W’s Subverse, he’s claiming that he’s losing contacts and having difficulty retaining visibility of his brand in the wake of the game’s explosive popularity.

This obviously is not the sort of thing most fans and backers wanted to happen, and while it’s going to give more visibility to both Tim Pool and Studio F.O.W., it’s also going to cost both companies quite the pretty penny in legal fees, which would ultimately detract from FOW Interactive developing the game, as well as reduce Tim Pool’s resources to provide hard-hitting, international journalism. It almost looks like a lose-lose situation for all parties involved.

[Update:] Some people have also pointed out that Pool only registered for the trademark of Subverse after April 8th, 2019. And yes, it’s true, if you check the USPTO government website, it clearly states that the trademark filing took place on April 8th, 2019 by a Timothy Pool. The USPTO has not granted Pool the trademark yet, and it’s still awaiting examination. Studio F.O.W’s Subverse Kickstarter was initiated back on March 24th, 2019. So they seem to have the leg up on Pool as far as timing is concerned.

(Thanks for the news tip Minuteworld and Zephyr Wolf)

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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

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