Capcom Sues to End Dead Rising Trademark Dispute

By Aaron Linde and Chris Faylor, Feb 14, 2008 8:26pm PST Capcom has filed a complaint in the US District Court for declaratory relief against the MKR Group, which has repeatedly claimed that Capcom's zombie action title Dead Rising (X360) violates MKR's Dawn of the Dead trademark.

The company is seeking attorney's fees and a declaration from the Court that Dead Rising does not infringe on MKR's trademark. A 1978 zombie horror film set in a shopping mall, Dawn of the Dead is considered by many to be a direct inspiration for Dead Rising. A loose remake of the film was released in 2004.

Capcom alleges that similarities between the properties are based on "the wholly unprotectible idea of humans battling zombies in a shopping mall," and cannot stand up as a copyright claim.

The complaint notes that on February 6, MKR informed Capcom, Microsoft, and Best Buy of its intentions to file a claim against the companies for the development, marketing and distribution of Dead Rising in three weeks' time.

The long-running dispute began brewing before the game was released in 2006, with Capcom taking the preemptive measure of placing a label on the Dead Rising box disavowing any relationship to the film. The filing notes that Capcom's complaint is meant as a response to MKR's threat of legal action.

Though MKR claims to own the Dawn of the Dead trademark, Capcom's complaint states that MKR has never filed for the "Dawn of the Dead" trademark beyond "George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead", and a logo depicting a partial shot of a zombie head.

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12 Threads | 53 Comments

  • I think that this isn't about a money grab.

    When Simon Pegg made Shawn of the Dead, do you know what Romero did?

    Fell in love with it. He wears a Shawn of the Dead button around.

    He had the Shawn of the Dead guys play zombies in Land of the Dead. Talked at length about them being "Real fans of the genre" and "Loving them and their work." on the LOTD DVD commentary.

    What he DIDN'T do was sue them. They used the same kind of zombies, (Slow, no explanation for their existence, shoot them in the head, etc.) the same sort of drama, the same biting, sarcastic social commentary. Why didn't he sue them? Because they came up with an original story. They didn't crib off of his ideas.

    If I go make a movie, let's say, a costume drama, set on a large pleasure cruiser on its maiden voyage that sinks due to hitting an ice berg, I probably won't get sued. However, if I include a scene with the feisty female lead spitting in her fiance's face after learning how to spit from the equally feisty leading man, and a scene where they have sex in a steam filled car, and a scene where he draws a nekkid picture of her etc. There's a point where you are stealing the iconic imagery that gets the mindshare of the public.

    I bought Dead Rising for one reason: A playable version of Dawn Of The Dead, where i could go batshit crazy on Romero style zombies. And I was satisfied at having gotten that after playing the game.

    Also, I'd like to add that many of the characters and situations in Dead Rising are very similar to events in DOTD.

    Helicopter as plot device to get to the main location of the story.
    Helicopter as a last ditch escape.
    Man character starts out as a total insensitive prick. Also works for the media. (Compare to Flyboy in DOTD)
    Primary character is a grumpy, somewhat intimidating black guy with a good heart deep down.
    Government can't be trusted.
    General mockery of consumerism.
    Attempts to deal with hysterical/insane people often more dangerous than the undead menace.

    It wouldn't have hurt for Capcom to throw a few bucks the way of old George for licensing the damned rights.

    Whoever the developer was for the Land of the Dead game could afford it, and that game was made with what? Fifty bucks and some cocaine?

    FWIW I am totally biased and will be seeing G.A.R.'s Diary of the Dead tonight. (Opens limited tonight!)

  • When the hell is god going to sue all these rip off artists for recreating man in his image after he has already done that... damn bastards! think of something original!

    BTW, anyone ever see bio-zombie? zombies in a shopping center.

    Why not sue resident evil for having zombies in a city? or in a house, or in the yard.

    This is so pathetic, copyright laws have to be totally redone.

    Cant they just say this is a parody and cal it a day?

    There was 0 material in this game that came DIRECTLY from the movie, no sound bits, no images, no music no nothing. Romero should just sue himself for not being able to think of anything new... hes been copying himself for years. (and thank god for that, imagine a Romero love story? bah! )

  • MKR, you can't trademark the idea of zombies in the mall. This game is nothing like your movie. One can understand that you are upset that people assume that your movie is based off of this game; however, it's not... so get over it and get back to making yet another remake of one of your films rather than come up with a new movie. Really, how hard is it to make a zombie movie? I'll help you get started... "Zombies at the _________!" Now, fill in the blank with just about anything. Ta-Da! You've got yourself a new idea for a zombie movie.

    All in all, this must be a joke. Dead Rising is a good game. Just like Metallica with the whole Napster incident, I'm pissed with MKR with ****ing around with the things that I like. I'll be sure to remember to download your next movie.