Indie game developers or any creatives in New Jersey may want to avoid using the phrase “choose your own adventure” in their work. Chooseco, the company that publishes the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books, has alleged that four games on itch.io have committed trademark infringement by using the phrase, and the games have been pulled from the platform. The company founder warned developers on Twitter not to use the phrase in their games.
It is not the first time Chooseco has pursued a claim of trademark infringement. In 2007, after Chrysler used the phrase “Choose Your Own Adventure” as part of an ad campaign, Chooseco sued. Chooseco has also accused Netflix of trademark violation after the “Black Mirror” episode “Bandersnatch” mentioned the Choose Your Own Adventure series.
Two of the games used the phrase in their titles, “A Series of Choose Your Own Adventure Stories Where No Matter What You Choose You Are Immediately Killed by a Werewolf” and “Choose Your Own Adventure BG.” Another game, “Purrfect Apawcalypse,” was described on the game page as a “choose your own adventure game.”
Trademark law is complex, and whether a company is trying to register a trademark, claim trademark infringement or fight an allegation of trademark infringement, legal assistance may be beneficial. An attorney may assist a company in trademark registration, which can be important in protecting the company if there are any trademark violations or allegations against the company later. The attorney may also explain the complexities of trademark law and what options a person has in any of these situations. In some cases, a company may simply request that another party stop using the trademark in question. In other situations, the case proceeds to court, and the company might ask for compensation for damages.