I Contacted A Games Company With A 'Stolen' Name And Logo. 24 Hours Later, It Was Dead

It's not every day you see a company pop up using the exact same name and logo of a company that hasn't technically existed since 2010. The entity in this case is Offset Software, acquired by Intel in 2008 and creators of the cancelled Project Offset. So it was surprising when yesterday, I was made aware of a "new" Offset Software with identical branding, but no apparent relationship with the former incarnation.

Image: United States Patent and Trademark Office

While the original Offset was a games developer through-and-through, this new apparition was in the different, yet related business of indie game marketing and publishing. OK, fair enough -- names and identities are going to be recycled eventually.

Except for that darn logo. To be blunt, it was a rip-off of the old Offset's trademark.

Here is the logo for the original Offset Software (via Nick Mohilchock):

Image: Intel

Compare this to the logo in the lead image, obtained from the "new" Offset Software's trademark filing from the USPTO. If you'd like to check it yourself, the serial number is 87070679 (the site uses session-based searches, so a direct link won't work).

I contacted the new Offset, asking about its usage of the name and logo and its relationship with the old Offset and Intel. At this time, I also dropped Intel's PR an email.

While I waited for a reply, I collected screenshots of the company's various online entities, including its website, Facebook page and Twitter account (all of which are now essentially dead):

Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied

Hours later, I wasn't surprised when the logo was removed -- from everything:

Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied

Shortly after this mass-editing, I received the following response from Offset:

We claim no affiliation with the old Offset team and are not in the business of building game engines. It was brought to our attention by Rod Green earlier today that the Offset design mark is still being used by Intel and is still active. According to the US Patent & Trademark Office, the design mark is currently dead and was abandoned in 2005.   In light of the conflicting information, we have since removed the mark from all of our materials and a formal legal inquiry has been filed with Intel.

Rod Green was the original Offset's art director and one of its founders. In fact, we've chatted to him in the past about his work, which included stints at BioWare, Blizzard and Red 5.

I sent a follow-up email, asking if the company knew of the existence of the old Offset when it came up with its name and logo. Given that even the most basic of Google searches brings up the original studio's Wikipedia page with the logo clearly visible, it was hard to believe it was just a coincidence.

Yesterday went by without a reply, though this is now easily explained by Offset Software's complete removal from the digital realm, which occurred sometime last night. Its website is a blank page, its Facebook presence has been deleted and the Twitter account reverted to its primordial egg state:

Image: Supplied

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what to make of the affair and while I'd like to take credit, I'm confident it was Green's actions that led to this outcome.

Until I hear back from Intel (which may never happen, especially if the company went the legal route), I'm guessing Offset's "formal legal inquiry" resulted in a less-than-favourable response. I'll keep you updated.


Comments

    I like these investigative articles. Good work Logan!

    this is the kind of great investigative journalism that keeps me coming back.

    thanks @loganbooker! keep it up.

    Last edited 10/07/16 4:00 pm

    Given that they were using Epic's UE4 matinee fight scene for their website background I'd say scam artists were running or hired.

    Nicely done. They could have scammed people and you put the wheels in motion to stop the . I'd take some credit if I were you, you did give Intel the heads up on it.

    Maybe you can track down this one too https://www.solarpowerservices.com.au/ Anything about Solar Power Service's logo look familiar?

      holy shit that's crazy.

      If they went happy with the use of scrolls due to copyright reasons, I cant see Bethesda being happy about vault boy being used.

      you should end it to Bethesda, might score some free shyte for your troubles.

      well spotted mate.

        There's this business down the road.

        https://www.google.com.au/maps/@-27.254626,152.9824955,3a,30y,143.54h,72.06t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1stQyTz-Cld8TvmGQGVvYvGQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

        Which looks like EVE from WALL-E

        http://orig15.deviantart.net/e605/f/2008/187/2/8/wall_e___eve_by_celesjessa.jpg

          At least that isn't a direct copy-paste.

          At least they have tried to alter it...........somewhat.

      Ha, reminds me of what some net friends dubbed Copyright Infringement Van many years ago. Don't seem to have the picture handy atm, and can't remember if it was a painter or a window cleaner, but their logo dude was Paper Mario.

      I don't get it, what am I missing here?

        This is what it used to be http://imgur.com/a/sEb1r

      Just had another look, they changed the logo! People power!

    Heh I once went for a group interview for some kind of marketing/sales thing which never explained very well what the company did. It was in a rather empty room inside an office with a different name and logo than the ones used in the ad. The week after I call back to follow up on the results of the interview and all numbers I could find associated with the company, including the one I had been contacted gave me the automatic reply that the number had been disconnected. God knows what shady enterprise's bullet I dodged.

      Cold calling scams through Big Store, selling fake products that have no material value or physical product. Like insurance policies.

    Maybe a poor choice by a partner or a branding consultant that took the money and gave them a retired brand he googled searched.

    Here's a fun one from an industry i've been part of for over 10 years.

    we get people who come and go, bad security companies, fronts for organized crime and then you get this lazy crap :

    http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/adelaide-cbd/other-business-services/witcher-security-company/1114411062

    I've seen this guy dropping cards around town trying to get jobs and anyone who recognises the game throws the cards away instantly laughing at them, this advert they have not even bothered with their incredibly bad cards, they've just done an art asset lift from the game.

    Trust someone for security, because they steal from a game!

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