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Trenched trademark man vows to fight on

Wants to turn board game into video game.

The designer preventing Double Fine's Trenched from releasing in Europe has vowed to continue his trademark battle with Microsoft, Eurogamer can reveal.

Last month Eurogamer broke the news that Xbox Live Arcade game Trenched was blocked from release in certain parts of Europe because of a trademark held by abstract board game Trench.

The trademark, filed by Portuguese board game designer Rui Alípio Monteiro in 2009, covers both board games and computer games.

Trench, the board game, like Double Fine's Trenched, focuses on military strategy and army ranks and is set in the World War I era.

Now, Monteiro, through Portuguese company Criações a Solo, has issued a statement to Eurogamer that reveals his side of the Trenched trademark battle story – and his plans to turn Trench into a video game. It is reproduced here in full:

"The board is in the shape of a diamond with two horizontal lines suggesting the Trenches, and the pieces are pyramid-shaped. All this symbolizes a classic military confrontation on real battlefields.

"The game has an elegant design, innovative and solid game dynamics. On the line of the great classic games, it has the potential to be played and sold all over the globe.

"Always bearing the international market in mind, and after legal advice, Rui Alípio Monteiro registered the brand both in Portugal and internationally. In September 2009, he was granted the Trademark Registration Certificate for Trench nº 007508501 in the European Union. On 18th June 2010 he applied for the Trademark Registration of Trench in the USA, whose registration was granted on the 15th March 2011 under the Register nº 85066103.

"He also owns the international Certificates regarding the visual aspect of the game and components. Although the original idea was to produce a board game, he has also registered the trademark for electronic Games, since part of Rui Alípio Monteiro's global project is to turn Trench into an appealing electronic game, already in the development phase.

"Criações a Solo has paid full attention to this leading project and the game gained a reputable list of triumphs filled with praise from both private and public Portuguese entities.

"All this has put Criações a Solo in evidence during their presence at the Nuremberg Toy Fair 2011 in Germany. Those who appreciate strategy games became very interested on Trench, including Chess fans. Thus, we can say that the Portuguese entrepreneurs and creators are conquering their well-deserved place internationally.

"Currently, Trench is on the production phase by the hand of the well-know Portuguese publisher Runadrake, LDA. and has already an exclusive distributor for Portugal and Spain, SR. BRINQUEDO, LDA. Many news are still to come regarding Trench, that will be at the next Essen Fair in Germany.

"Criações a Solo of Rui Alípio Monteiro and the pioneer project Trench are not related to and are chronologically previous to the XBLA game named Trenched, recently launched by Microsoft.

"This company, until the present date, has never contacted nor has any relation with Rui Alípio Monteiro. Criações a Solo and Rui Alípio Monteiro, taking into account all investment already made, cannot do anything else but to obviously defend all their author's copyright and intellectual property against any infringements, as any designer would, and perpetuate their creation with the main goal of putting Trench in the international Hall of Fame of both classic electronic and board games."

In a further development, on Friday our Portuguese colleagues noticed Monteiro's Trench website had been defaced by a hacker called Mr. ShKrEb. A screenshot of the website taken on Friday evening is below.

Monteiro's defence of his trademark could mean a long European delay for Trenched while trademark issues are resolved. Alternatively, Double Fine could re-release the game in Europe under a different name.

Trenched emerged on schedule in the US last month but failed to appear in Europe. At the time, Microsoft stated the delay was due to "unexpected challenges with distribution".

Microsoft is yet to respond to Eurogamer's request for comment.