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]