The Studio Behind the Game DOOM Wants to Shut Down Dallas Band ‘Doomscrolling’

A lot of bands were born out of the pandemic. One of them was Doomscroll, a solo heavy metal concept created by Dustin Mitchell.

“The name came to me a little over a year ago mid-pandemic,” Mitchell says. “I came across an article about a woman in Arizona who completely lost her mind and destroyed some stuff in a Target store. Part of this article I read, one of the big quotes said, ‘All I did all day is doomscroll,’ and the word
doomscroll’ resonated with me.”

Doomscrolling means browsing through social media for sad and depressing content usually to feed one’s negative mood. Mitchell, a singer and musician who’s played with metal tribute bands including Blizzard of Ozz, Maiden Time and is currently in the Alice in Chains group Go Ask Alice, says he’d never heard the term before and found it had a certain ring to it.

“That sounds like a pretty killer band name,” Mitchell remembers thinking. “I’m gonna go with that.”

He started writing a few songs, created a Facebook page and filed the name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Then an email from an attorney showed up in his mailbox.

“My law firm represents Id Software LLC which owns the video game DOOM and related registered trademarks including DOOM, FINAL DOOM, DOOM II and several other registered trademarks,” Id Software attorney Wade Cloud from The Cloud Law Firm of Dallas wrote in an email to Mitchell on Oct. 13. “Today is the deadline for my client to oppose your pending application to register Doomscroll.”

Mitchell’s band name wasn’t inspired by the video game but by the internet term. Even still, the letter put an end to his plans.

“I’m very loosely paraphrasing here but essentially, they claimed to raise concerns with the name Doomscroll because of DOOM, DOOM II, DOOM III and DOOM Eternal because they may have some sort of conflict of interest,” Mitchell says. “The idea they’re trying to push is because I have the word ‘Doom’ in my trademark, people may confuse that with their games. That seems to be their reasoning.”

Founded in Dallas, Id Software has a long history of going after companies and entities using the words “doom,” “quake,” “id” and “rage” in their trademark applications. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has almost 300 claims from Id going back to 2010 involving individuals and companies such as Samsung Electronics, Dreamworks Animation and Mattel.

“What I’ve sort of found out from digging around on the patent and trademark office website, Id Software has a recorded history of doing the same thing they’re doing to me with every other trademark out there that has the word ‘doom’ in it regardless of what the trademark is for,” Mitchell says. “They have a pretty extensive history of doing the same thing to other people.”

Mitchell replied to the letter insisting that his metal band’s name is not impinging on Id’s trademarks and licenses.

“It’s a purely different thing,” Mitchell says. “I’m not trying to weasel my way into getting a little exposure from using the word ‘doom.’ That wasn’t my intention.”

“They have a pretty extensive history of doing the same thing to other people.” –Dustin Mitchell, on Id Software

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Doomscroll’s sound doesn’t share the stylings of the game’s famous soundtracks, which have also been covered by metal groups not connected to Bethesda’s gaming company. Mitchell describes his project as “a fast-paced progressive metal band.”

“It kind of has a Dream Theater and Judas Priest testament vibe to them,” he says of his songs.

Mitchell says he’s still creating the melodies for his topical, satirical lyrics for songs with titles such as “Democracy Dies.”

“A lot of my ideas stem from current events over the last couple of years,” Mitchell says. “I’m in the early stages where I’m just writing music. I don’t have names for them. I just date them when I start working on the song and when the lyrics come around or something that really grabs or moves me in some way, I’ll give it a working title.”

Negotiations with Id regarding the band’s name are still ongoing and Mitchell says he can’t talk too much about where they are in the process. Id Software and the law firm representing it didn’t respond to the Observer‘s requests for comment.

“I’m definitely frustrated,” Mitchell says. “This seems pretty absurd that a big company is going after some random person just because of four letters that were attached to something completely different and is completely irrelevant to what they’re doing. I’m definitely not taking this sitting down.”

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