Unexpectedly Move over, furniture giant Ikea has sent a single independent developer to cease and desist Verified by message my boxAsk him to change unpublished A survival horror game set in an Ikea-like furniture store. represented by lawyers Ikea claimed the game was in trademark infringement because some press outlets drew comparisons between its official brand and the game. that A Swedish company has given developer Jacob Schock just 10 days to “change the game and remove all indicators associated with the popular Ikea store.”
business closed It’s a co-op survival game that hasn’t been released yet, just last week For a successful Kickstarter campaign Just over $49,000 was raised. Developed by a single developer under the studio name Ziggy, the game describes itself as “a setting in an endless furniture store”.
“You have to build weapons, build castles to survive the night,” the preacher continues. “Explore SCP’s underground laboratories and build towers in the sky to find a way out.” You know, like the original IKEA? Importantly, the word “Ikea” was not mentioned anywhere in the game’s promotional materials during the Kickstarter campaign, on Steam — not anywhere else.
But even so, and despite the game being nowhere to be sold, Ikea’s New York lawyer, Fros Zelnik, wrote to Shaw that they wanted to change something about the game that would help people remember their brand.
“Our client knew you were making a video game.”business closed“, the legal letter explains, “which uses indicators associated with popular IKEA stores without the customer’s permission.”
It then lists the offending aspects of Shaw’s game.
“Your game uses a blue and yellow sign with a Scandinavian name on the store, a blue box-like building, yellow vertical striped shirts like those worn by IKEA employees, a gray path on the floor, furniture that looks like IKEA furniture, and product signage that looks like IKEA signage. All of the above immediately suggests that the game takes place in an IKEA store.”
Shaw gave me access to an early alpha build of the game, during which “blue box-like buildings” and “blue and yellow symbols” appear in their entirety on the menu screen. After that, you won’t see them. The game currently has no branding. The store is called “STYR.” Apparently a joke spelling of “STORE”, which, coincidentally, is a Swedish word meaning “control”. do you know no A Swedish word? “Ikea.” It is the initials of its founder, a farm where he grew up and a nearby village. Notably, stores like Tiffany’s have a trademark on the colors they use on their packaging, so in some ways Ikea isn’t completely coming out of left field here.
Then there is the claim that it has “Furniture like Ikea furniture.” But Shaw disputes that he designed any furniture with Ikea in mind. “I bought the generic furniture asset pack to make this game,” Shaw said, meaning it’s furniture that could be featured in any game for the price. “I don’t know what that means.” The game does, however, have a gray path on the floor. This is it It is common for stores to have signage that tells the customer where to go.
Ikea’s argument hinges on the fact that the game violates their brand Press sites made the association, rather than the game itself lining up the Ikea naming.
One headline reads, ‘Someone Made a Survival Horror Game Set in IKEA.’ Another headline reads, ‘The Backroom meets Sons of the Forest in new IKEA horror game.’
These two titles we can find, but it is possible there are more. The letter also includes the subtitles of these stories as part of the evidence, then saying:
“Furthermore, numerous comments by readers of these stories create an association with IKEA stores.”
Based on all of this, Shaw is told that its “unauthorized use of the IKEA logo constitutes unfair competition and false advertising under US Trademark Act Section 43(a), 15 US C § 1125(a), and state unfair competition. False Advertising Act.”
The lawyers then told the developer, “You certainly could easily make a video game set in a furniture store that doesn’t look like or suggest an IKEA store.” “You can easily make changes to your game to avoid these issues, especially since you don’t plan to release the game until 2024,” the supposed game development experts go on to explain.
they are Then immediately proceeded to inform Shaw that he had “ten working days from the date of this letter” to make all such changes, removing all “hints” they claimed. Gray path and all. The game is not yet sold.
Ikea is one company that has seen that Revenue hit $25.4 billion last year, and Jacob Shaw is the UK man who tried to raise £10,000 ($11,575) on Kickstarter. Shaw says he has no choice but to comply. When he seeks legal advice, he is convinced that he must quit because of the costs involved in the contest.
“I wanted to spend the last Kickstarter week preparing an update for all the new alpha testers,” Shaw told Kotaku. “But now I really have to refresh the whole look of the game so I don’t get sued.”
It is clear that trademark owners have a legal obligation to protect them so that they do not lose them and their trademarks are not recognized as generic. This is meant to be part of Ikea’s motivation here, as it may seem superficial to someone unfamiliar with trademark law.. Hopefully removing the blue box on the menu screen is really enough to get rid of the rest of this nonsense, not least because the US is flying a far more intelligent suit to bypass the UK.
We contacted branding experts at Ikea in both the US (where the threat originated) and the UK (where the game is set). To request feedback and will update when they respond.