Ikea has sent a cease and desist letter to the developer of The Store is Closed, an indie survival game about spending the night in a furniture store.
As reported by Kotaku, lawyers representing Ikea have accused solo developer Jacob Shaw of committing trademark infringement and have given him ten days to change parts of his game that allegedly represent Ikea branding.
This includes a blue and yellow sign, a Scandinavian name (STYR), yellow vertical striped shirts, a grey path on the floor, and some furniture. “All the foregoing immediately suggest that the game takes place in an Ikea store”, the lawyers’ letter said.
No reference to Ikea exists on The Store is Closed’s Steam or Kickstarter pages, however, and Shaw maintains that he wasn’t inspired by Ikea for the game’s furniture as he bought a generic furniture asset pack that can be used in any game. The Ikea lawyers also cite press outlets and online commentators for drawing a comparison between his game and Ikea.
The letter continued: The “unauthorized use of the IKEA indicia constitutes unfair competition and false advertising under Sections 43(a) of the U.S. Trademark Act, 15 U.S. C § 1125(a), and state unfair competition and false advertising laws.
“You can of course easily make a video game set in a furniture store that does not look like, or suggest, an IKEA store. You can easily make changes to your game to avoid these problems, especially since you do not plan to release the game until 2024.”
Shaw has indicated that he plans to make the changes to The Store is Closed, but is seeking legal advice himself. “I was going to spend the last week of my Kickstarter preparing an update for all the new alpha testers,” Shaw told Kotaku. “But now I’ve got to desperately revamp the entire look of the game so I don’t get sued.”
Though Shaw is just one developer, the entertainment has proven that any company, no matter how big, is at threat of being sued for copyright infringement. Cheats website AimJunkies is being sued by Bungie for implementing cheats in Destiny 2, while Paramount is being sued over its ownership (or lack thereof) of Top Gun: Maverick.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.
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Author: Ryan Dinsdale