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Choose your own adventure in trademark infringement

Many people in California grew up loving the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books, and the name of the books largely became a genre of its own. Multiple video games have been based on the idea of an unfolding story that changes based on the choices made by players. Now, Chooseco, the publisher of Choose Your Own Adventure, is pursuing trademark infringement notices against independent game developers that use the phrase when describing their games. According to one gaming storefront, four game pages have been suspended from service due to the infringement complaints.

The marketplace Itch.io, told developers submitting games to the service that they should avoid using the phrase “choose your own adventure” because Chooseco is sending takedown notices to the service when it finds examples of alleged trademark infringement. Games taken down included a pet-based dog dating game advertised as allowing players to choose their own adventure, a human dating simulation game, a Game Boy game entitled “Choose Your Own Adventure” and a humorous game by a New Yorker author. The humor game was called “A Series of Choose Your Own Adventure Stories Where No Matter What You Choose You Are Immediately Killed by a Werewolf.”

The gaming marketplace said that it is not disputing Chooseco’s trademark complaints, but it is informing users to avoid potential problems in the future. Chooseco has previously enforced its trademark and filed complaints about Chrysler commercials and a major Netflix series, but these may be the first examples to involve small, almost unknown independent game developers rather than large companies.

Intellectual property like copyrights and trademarks are at the core of the profitability and business model of many creative enterprises. An IP attorney may be able to help creators and inventors to protect their intellectual property from infringement and seek protection for their ideas and products.

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