Riot Games Sues CS:GO Esports Team! Riot Squad cannot have “Riot” in its name.
“Riot” is a registered trademark of Riot Games.
Riot, a trademark of Riot Games
Trademark can be seen on the Justia Trademarks website. It is publicly available, so you cannot say that you did not know about such a trademark – especially since Riot Games as a company is widely known in the gaming industry.
Riot Squad Esports
Riot Squad Esports is an American esports organization founded in March 2019. He has a team in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Riot Games believes that the “Riot” particle is misleading to players who know the company. In his lawsuit, he intends to force Riot Squad Esports to change its name and pay damages.
Team logo below.
Polygon has published the full text of the lawsuit. You can read it below.
Riot Squad Esports did not address the whole situation.
Riot vs Riot Squad by Polygondotcom on Scribd
What does owning a trademark mean?
In a nutshell – it is the registration and reservation of the use of a given name (usually in a specific industry); proving that this name is associated with a specific brand. It makes it easier to assert your rights in court – no one can argue that, for example, Ashe is not an associated figure in the League.
A trademark is not the same as copyright. You can’t copyright the word “Riot” (the word itself doesn’t qualify as a work, it’s already in the language), but you can own a trademark.
A trademark is registered to a certain extent. The name can be registered as, for example, text on T-shirts, which means that you can still create such a band or game. Typically, a trademark is registered in several categories.
So now you can’t use words, because someone will claim their rights?
When creating a name for a new character, Riot Games – after an initial selection of over 100 suggestions and leaving the best 10-25 – checks in turn whether the names are not trademarks. Taalea was a suggested name for
Taliyah – was rejected due to the fact that the name is a brand of bottled water in Russia.
The situation with Riot Squad is quite understandable. Riot Games is the most famous esports company – the Worlds tournament is the most popular esports tournament in the world. The appearance of a team named “Riot” clearly suggests that it could be created by Riot Games or sponsored (SK Telecom T1 was created with the financial help of the SK Telecom telecommunications company). Can you imagine that Barcelona Squad will appear in Poland next to sports clubs Legia Warszawa or Korona Kielce?
One of the scandals in Wykop concerned a surname as a trademark. The woman registered on the portal as malgorzata-kruppe, asking the Kruppe user to change her nickname, which was taken from one of the fantasy stories. She argued that her name is a certain brand – there are few people with her name in Poland, which is why she does not want to be associated with the activity of the Kruppe user on Wykopie. Although it was speculated that the find would be deleted, it is still available and Kruppe still has his nickname. At one point, the woman required him to show his ID . Could she have asked for it?
The key term is “misleading”
The name must not be misleading. “Riot” in “Riot Squad” in esports team is misleading. A game studio that would be called, for example, “Riot Plays” is misleading. Companies want to assert their rights… and they have every right to do so.
On the other hand, I don’t think that, for example, the steel company “RiotPol” can be sued by Riot Games. They are completely different industries. However, it would be good if the producer could justify why he chose such a name and show that he does not want to use the reputation of a well-known brand, and that the name means something to him.
Typically, such matters are first settled amicably – a message is sent asking for a name change. If the other party does not respond to this, it can expect a lawsuit.