Iron Maiden’s holding company have launched a $2million (£1.58million) trademark infringement lawsuit against the makers of a video game called Ion Maiden.
The lawsuit filed by Iron Maiden Holdings Limited at the Central District of California court on Tuesday (28th May) accuses 3D Realms Entertainment of using an “incredibly blatant” and “virtually identical imitation of the Iron Maiden trademark.”
Demanding $2million (£1.58million) in damages, the suit claims that the game’s title causes “confusion among customers” and it’s “nearly identical to the Iron Maiden trademark in appearance, sound and overall commercial impression.”
The papers add: “Customers who view Defendant’s video game and merchandise are likely to believe that Iron Maiden is somehow affiliated with Defendant.”
Iron Maiden Holdings Limited also argue that the game’s main character Shelley Harrison alludes to the band’s sole constant member Steve Harris and that a skull icon has parallels to Iron Maiden’s mascot Eddie.
It’s also claimed in the lawsuit that there are similarities to Iron Maiden’s own video game Legacy of the Beast – which inspired the 2018/2019 tour of the same name.
Iron Maiden Holdings Limited also provided examples of things fans have written online presuming Ion Maiden was linked to the band.
On top of the damages, Iron Maiden’s suit also demands 3D Realms stop using “confusingly similar” products and relinquish their ownership of ionmaiden.com.
3D Realms responded on Twitter today, writing: “We’ve recently heard about a lawsuit filed in California by the band Iron Maiden, claiming our old-school first-person shooter Ion Maiden (@Bombshell_Game) is infringing on their trademark.
“From what we’ve heard, the suit claims our main character Shelly Harrison, originally debuting in 2016’s Bombshell, is based on their musician Steve Harris; our skull bomb icon found in-game is based on their skeleton mascot Eddie; our logo in itself is based on theirs; and other frivolous claims anyone who has played Ion Maiden would find more over the top than Shelly’s “Loverboy”, her signature 18-round triple-barreled revolver.
“We at 3D Realms, our co-publishers 1C Entertainment, and developer Voidpoint will review our options once we receive official notice of the lawsuit and will make any necessary decisions at the appropriate time.
“Regardless, everyone continues to work diligently on Ion Maiden to deliver the best possible experience later this year.”
One of the UK's leading IP litigators, Alexandra Brodie, who is a partner at Gowling WLG, told Planet Rock: “The people behind Ion Maiden have just discovered that their tongue-in-cheek (or coldly calculated) attempt to raise awareness of their new product by adopting a name that, together with the nature of the game, calls to mind Iron Maiden's very strong brand reputation may well cost them dearly.
“What can seem like clever word-play often amounts to trade mark infringement and so this issue is a timely reminder to do your brand clearance alongside your product development. Not only can an infringing product name cost you in legal fees and damages but the delay caused by the need to rebrand your product and very fact of rebranding will also result in wasted money on lost advertising and the need to pay more money to rebrand and re-advertise. Coupled with the delay in revenue stream due to the delay in bringing product to market means the word play starts to look less amusing.”