Stardock, Ironclad Win Small Victory Against ‘Rebellion’ Trademark Opposition

Stardock, Ironclad Win Small Victory Against ‘Rebellion’ Trademark Opposition

Rebellion’s in the news today for all the wrong reasons. In addition to copping flak from users regarding revoked Steam keys for Sniper Elite 3, it’s also lost a battle against developers Stardock and Ironclad over the use of the word “Rebellion” in the latter’s space-based 4X game, Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, with a US district court ruling that Ironclad is free to use “Rebellion” in the game’s title.

This particular fight began back in mid-2012, when Rebellion sued the companies for appropriating the word “Rebellion” for the SoSE stand-alone expansion, citing “substantial” lost sales as a result of it use.

In Ironclad’s news post about the victory, it highlights the following extract from Rebellion’s case as the most “influential”:

“There can be only one reason for choosing the name “REBELLION” as the name of this game, and that is that it is identical to our client’s name. The choice of name for your game is designed to confuse members of the public into believing that this game emanated from our client or has been endorsed by our client. Alternatively, you have chosen REBELLION as the game’s name to take unfair advantage of the reputation of our client or to dilute the distinctiveness of our client’s reputation. All these actions are types of passing off that the choice of REBELLION by your company is intended to perpetrate on our client’s goodwill. If you are allowed to misrepresent your game in the way indicated, it will cause damage to our client’s goodwill”.

Huh? I don’t think any rational gamer, or person for that matter, would ever come to this conclusion. It’s fairly clear why Stardock / Ironclad didn’t just take the cease-and-desist in the face and fought it instead.

Two years later, they’ve come out on top… sort of. Unfortunately for Stardock and Ironclad, Rebellion has already filed a trademark opposition in Ironclad’s homeland of Canada and it has “unconfirmed reports” that a cease and desist order has been sent to a “partner in the United Kingdom”.

Sins of a Solar Empire’s Ironclad Games Sets New Legal Precedent for Video Game Trademarks [Sins of a Solar Empire, via Blue’s News]


  • But nobody even really knows who Rebellion is! Sure, people might say they got Sniper Elite but they won’t be saying anything like “Wow, Rebellion sure makes good games!” or even referencing them. Besides, one’s a studio, the other one is the second part of a 4X game’s expansion’s name, the first being, of course, Sins of a Solar Empire. What do Rebellion even hope to gain from this?

  • Wait I thought as somebody who owned Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion for far longer than I’ve knew the guys who made Sniper Elite where called Rebellion was about the fact that in Sins their was a Rebellion with in the factions which resulted in the sides getting slightly different versions of each other.

    Two it’s a freaking sub heading and it’s a common enough word.

    The word Rebellion conjures up for me people fighting against an injust government, not a game about Snipers. Also the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars.

  • Luckily now I know who Rebellion are so I can make sure I never purchase one of their games.

    What a bunch of scumbags they are.

    • It’s a shame because I’ve actually quite enjoyed some of the games they’ve done.

      Being charitable, I’d assume it’s a case of lawyers on retainer looking to justify their existence or something? Either way, it’s pretty bloody idiotic, given that the core difference between Sins: Rebellion and Sins: Vanilla is that Rebellion focuses on the fact that each of the factions has had rebel factions splinter away, in an act of… something non-trade-marked to describe a rebellion.

      This is why trade-marking common english words is fucking ridiculous.

  • Still waiting for Lucasart/EA to roll in and say “Hey we made a game called “Rebellion” 20 years ago. Hey Rebellion, pay up”

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