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