UPDATE: GameWatcher received an official response from Electronic Arts on the matter. According to the representative: "The trademark application does not impact the game title of Unravel, and we’re looking forward to the game launching on February 9.”
Electronic Arts may be forced to change the title of its upcoming puzzle platformer Unravel, as the United States Patent and Trademark Office has refused its application to trademark the game.
According to the USPTO, there's too much similarity to an old game called Beary's Unravel. In that game, very young kids trace a string from one end to the other. The strings intertwine, forcing them to concentrate on the continuity of the string. Apparently, this is enough for it to be confused with a platform videogame that involves yarn.
"When comparing marks, the test is not whether the marks can be distinguished in a side-by-side comparison, but rather whether the marks are sufficiently similar in terms of their overall commercial impression that confusion as to the source of the goods and/or services offered under the respective marks is likely to result." states the USPTO, as reported by a member on.
It's strange, because at first, second and third looks, it's hard to believe that there could be any confusion between the two. Electronic Arts will be forced to change the name, though we suspect there will be some sort of colon subtitle addition, like "Unravel: A Tale of Yarn" or some such alteration.