Has FromSoftware Taken Over Elden Ring’s Rights?

It is worth clarifying whether the IP or just the ownership of the name was transferred from Bandai Namco to FromSoftware.


According to an assignment document that surfaced at the USPTO, ownership of the trademark was transferred from the publisher to the developers in March 2023, about 13 months after the release of Elden Ring. “Assignor [Bandai Namco] hereby assigns to Assignee [From Software] all right, title and interest in and to the Trademark, together with the goodwill of the business symbolized by the Trademark and the identified registration thereof, and all claims arising out of or relating to the use of the ownership of the Trademark,” the document reads.

However, VGC says the move needs to be looked at more closely. According to attorney Richard Hoeg of Hoeg Law, this transfer only and exclusively relates to the name of the game, so it is not the game itself that FromSoftware has taken over, although that could have happened separately. If IP rights such as Elden Ring were transferred from the publisher to the developer (which is also protected by copywrite), Hoeg says there would not really be a need for a public registration, but that could have been arranged by Bandai Namco and FromSoftware through a contract.

Elden Ring was released in February 2022 for PlayStation 5, Xbox series, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and FromSoftware’s game sold 20 million copies in its first year. In August 2022, Kadokawa Corporation, which owns the studio, announced that it would sell shares to Sony and Tencent, giving the two companies a combined 30% stake in FromSoftware, a move that will improve the Japanese studio’s development capabilities and help it self-publish its future games internationally.

Meanwhile, Elden Ring is also preparing to expand its content. A major DLC, Shadow of the Erdtree, is in development and has no release date yet. There are also rumors that Tencent is also making a mobile Elden Ring…

Source: VGC, USPTO

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