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Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue?

A lawsuit filed in a California District Court by Riot Games accuses esports organization Riot Squad of copyright infringement over their name (thanks Polygon). Riot Games, of course, is the creator of League of Legends, one of the most popular titles in esports. Riot Squad was formed this year, and fields teams in a few different competitive games, though League is not one of them. Riots have not actually ensued, but it seems that Riot Games thinks this choice of name is not a riot (LOL). At least we presume this to be the case: Polygon contacted them about the legal action, but they declined to comment. Here's a bit from their court filing:
With full knowledge of Riot and its trademark rights in the words RIOT and RIOT GAMES in connection with video games and esports, Defendant Riot Squad Esports LLC (“Riot Squad”) has unfairly and unlawfully adopted and exploited the RIOT brand name in connection with its marketing, advertising, and promotion of a nascent esports organization that it claims was “founded by gamers, for gamers.” Riot Squad apparently hopes and intends that by its use of the RIOT brand name, consumers will mistakenly believe that its esports organization is in some manner associated with, sponsored or endorsed by, or otherwise affiliated with Riot and its hugely popular products and services.

Through its conduct, Riot Squad has willfully created circumstances whereby members of the public are likely to be led to incorrectly believe that the goods offered by Riot Squad are authorized by, sponsored by, or affiliated with Riot, its well-known marks, and the products provided thereunder. The Court should enjoin any further use of the RIOT name by Riot Squad, and Riot should be compensated for the damage done to its brand as a result of Riot Squad’s conduct.
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15. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 12, 2019, 17:00 roguebanshee
 
Kxmode wrote on Oct 11, 2019, 17:02:
...and so on and so forth. I guess the USTPO takes common word registrations on a case-by-case basis. They may have felt "riot" is not as common a word as "windows."
Part of my point was that trademarks are generally granted unless either the application is not filled out properly or if it is obviously close to an existing and famous trademark (or a trademark the clerk processing the application knows/can easily find).
 
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14. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 12, 2019, 02:22 jdreyer
 
There are a few attorneys on Blues. I wonder what their opinions are. Not that you all haven't raised excellent points.  
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13. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 23:00 Cutter
 
Kxmode wrote on Oct 11, 2019, 21:43:
Cutter wrote on Oct 11, 2019, 18:35:
The trademark isn't the word, it's the design associated with the word.

"Riot Games and Riot Squad are both trademarked as separate word marks with iconic imagery" literally means "it's the design associated with the word."

Yeah, that's what I just said.
 
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“Don’t you see? The rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers. I think of us that way, sometimes. And I live here!” - Woody Allen
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12. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 21:43 Kxmode
 
Cutter wrote on Oct 11, 2019, 18:35:
The trademark isn't the word, it's the design associated with the word.

"Riot Games and Riot Squad are both trademarked as separate word marks with iconic imagery" literally means "it's the design associated with the word."
 
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William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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11. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 18:41 RedEye9
 
oddly enough ianal and neither am i  
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“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”
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10. removed Oct 11, 2019, 18:35 Cutter
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Oct 12, 2019, 11:05.
 
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“Don’t you see? The rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers. I think of us that way, sometimes. And I live here!” - Woody Allen
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9. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 17:02 Kxmode
 
What's interesting is Riot Games, and Riot Squad are both trademarked as separate word marks with iconic imagery.

With regards common words, you're both right. However, the USPTO has allowed a word like "riot" to be trademarked in many categories.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.98 - A company called Riot for "Automobile customization services; Automotive conversion services, namely, installing specialty automotive equipment; Custom installation of automobile interiors; Motorcycle customization services." Registered in 2018. Active.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.141 - A company called Riot for "Structural parts and accessories for drones." Registered in 2017. Active.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.172 - A company called Riot for "Electronic-based instruments for measuring environmental parameters including humidity and temperature; Home and office automation systems comprising wireless and wired controllers, controlled device, and software for lighting, HVAC, security, safety and other home monitoring; Climate control systems consisting of air conditioning, heating, ventilation, and drying control devices; Electronic controls for lighting and electric fans; Electronic control devices for controlling climates and indoor air quality; Electronic control devices for lighting; Remote controls for electric fans; Electric luminescent display panels; Electronic control devices for controlling windows and window coverings." Registered in 2015. Defunct.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.197 - A company called Riot for "A house mark for Operation of and organizing sports events, namely, lacrosse teams, lacrosse games, lacrosse tournaments, lacrosse clinics, lacrosse training and lacrosse camps." Registered in 2015. Defunct.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.219 - A company called Riot for "Web-based application services, namely, providing a software application development platform for the development of applications for the connectivity of devices, systems, and services, namely, remote monitoring and control, industrial automation, asset tracking, and field service operations. Web-based application services, namely, providing a software application development platform for software and system developers to prototype and deploy customized connected product applications. Web-based application services, namely, providing an software application development platform for software and system developers to create application frameworks for use in the field of product development." Registered in 2015. Defunct.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.226 - A company called Riot for "Electronic vapor devices (e-cigarettes)." Registered in 2014. Defunct.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.249 - A company called Riot! for "Motorcycles and structural parts therefor." Registered in 2014. Defunct.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.276 - A company called Riot for " Archery bows." Registered in 2011. Defunct.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.280 - A company called Riot for "Clothing, namely, t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts, jackets, collared shirts, tops, pants, hats, and caps." Registered in 2011. Active.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.297 - A company called Riot for "Dietary and nutritional supplements." Registered 2013. Defunct.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.298 - A company called Riot for "Cosmetics." Registered 2013. Defunct.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.314 - A company called Riot for "cigars and cigar accessories, namely cigar boxes, lighters, ashtrays, cigar bands, cigar cutters and humidors." Registered 2012. Defunct.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.341 - A company called Riot for "Satellite communication services, namely, low data rate, short message, and low power satellite communication services for remote monitoring and control of geographically distributed sensors, assets and internet of things devices; wireless electronic transmission of small amounts of data to and from remotely located internet of things devices via a satellite communication system, namely, using low data rate, short message, low power wireless electronic transmission services; providing telecommunication connectivity services for transfer of small amounts of data via a satellite communication system, namely, using low data rate, short message, and low power connectivity services, and global connectivity services for remotely located internet of things devices" and "Engineering design and consultancy services in connection with satellite communication services, namely, low data rate, short message, and low power satellite communication services for remote monitoring and control of geographically distributed sensors, assets and internet of things devices; engineering design and consultancy services in connection with wireless electronic transmission of small amounts of data to and from remotely located internet of things devices via a satellite communication system, namely, using low data rate, short message, low power wireless electronic transmission services; engineering design and consultancy services in connection with providing telecommunication connectivity services for transfer of small amounts of data via a satellite communication system, namely, using low data rate, short message, and low power connectivity services, and global connectivity services for remotely located internet of things devices." Registered 2018. Active.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/jumpto?f=doc&state=4803:z9xkk8.3.342 - A company called Riot for "Bicycles; bicycle parts, namely, frames for bicycles, forks, suspension forks, handle bars for bicycles, bar ends, stems, steering bearings, bicycle handlebar grips, hubs, tyres, wheel trims, pedals, bicycle seat posts, bicycle saddles, suspension shock absorbers, suspension forks, chainstay protection and cycle mudguards" and "Sports articles for cycling sports, namely, protective supports in the nature of knee guards , protectors for elbows and back protectors." Registered 2013. Active.


...and so on and so forth. I guess the USTPO takes common word registrations on a case-by-case basis. They may have felt "riot" is not as common a word as "windows."
 
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William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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8. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 16:24 Cutter
 
You can't trademark words in common usage. Microsoft doesn't own "Windows" they own "Microsoft Windows". You can however trademark a word with particular artistic style to it as it identifies your company, but that doesn't preclude other companies from doing the same thing for their company. It'd be hard to argue that Riot Games could confuse the phrase with Riot Squad. They are similar yet different enough as not to cause any confusion that they are two distinct entities.
 
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“Don’t you see? The rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers. I think of us that way, sometimes. And I live here!” - Woody Allen
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7. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 15:14 roguebanshee
 
Kxmode wrote on Oct 11, 2019, 14:20:
Ozmodan wrote on Oct 11, 2019, 14:11:
ROFL on any attempt to trademark the word riot. You have to wonder about the lack of intelligence exhibited by Riot Games.

It's not an attempt. They have the word riot trademarked for several categories including esports and video games. USTPO allowed it.
Trademarks are generally allowed until challenged, unless the person awarding the trademark can immedately see something wrong with the application (Trying to trademark something like "Koka Kola" in any context is likely going to lead to a rejection). Once an approved trademark is challenged a court will make a decision on whether it holds or not.

A court might find the trademark Riot holds only applies to their actual logo and and the complete name of the company, but not the word "Riot" used in cunjuction with other words or phrases. A court might also find that "Riot Squad" evokes an asociation with "Riot" and thus could lead to potential market confusion. These two outcomes are NOT mutually exclusive. But there is no guarantee as to what will happen, it all depends on the judge.
 
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6. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 14:20 Kxmode
 
Ozmodan wrote on Oct 11, 2019, 14:11:
ROFL on any attempt to trademark the word riot. You have to wonder about the lack of intelligence exhibited by Riot Games.

It's not an attempt. They have the word riot trademarked for several categories including esports and video games. USTPO allowed it.
 
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William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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5. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 14:11 Ozmodan
 
ROFL on any attempt to trademark the word riot. You have to wonder about the lack of intelligence exhibited by Riot Games.
 
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4. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 13:29 Kxmode
 
I checked Riot Games' trademark and they definitely have esports. It sounds like the people behind Riot Squad didn't do their due diligence.  
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William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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3. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 11:47 drgnrbrn316
 
This sounds like King and the usage of the word "Saga". I would assume the name "Riot Squad" was chosen due to the existence of groups called riot squads and not due to a company being named Riot. Especially when you consider that the group doesn't play League of Legends apparently.

If Riot Squad was using the same font as Riot, sure, they might have a case. If both parties were using a made up word in their names, again there's an argument that one is leeching off of the other. Unless Riot Squad has been reported as treating their subordinates like shit, then I wouldn't have even thought the two groups were connected.

That being said, I'm sure Riot has enough money in the bank to make sure this goes their way, regardless of how stupid or unnecessary it all is.
 
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2. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 11:32 RedEye9
 
Riot is gonna win this one, hands down.  
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“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”
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1. Re: Riot Sues Riot Squad; Riots to Ensue? Oct 11, 2019, 11:27 ExGemini
 
Really ...

Geese US ... what have become of you.
 
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