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Rebellion files lawsuit against Stardock and Ironclad Games

Claims Sins of a Solar Empire expansion infringes trademark

UK developer Rebellion has sued Stardock Entertainment and Ironclad Games over the subtitle on their latest expansion pack, Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion.

Gamasutra reports that Rebellion is suing for trademark infringement on the basis that the subtitle could cause gamers to become confused and associate it with its studio. Rebellion also said it tried to send a cease and desist letter to Ironclad in April, but this was ignored.

Stardock probably already has its lawyers on speed dial, earlier this week it filed a lawsuit against former marketing manager Alexandra Miseta. It claims she was responsible for Elemental: War of Magic's poor reception, which she caused by destroying promotional materials.

Rebellion was founded in 1991, and some of its recent releases include NeverDead and Sniper Elite V2.

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Latest comments (15)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
Oh do bugger off... That's such a spurious lawsuit. If it were just called "Rebellion", maybe, but man... No-one is ever going to get confused between a 4x space game called Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, and a development studio called Rebellion.
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Andrew Animator 4 years ago
Ohh no, someone used another english word which someone else deemed to be their property. This is absurd.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Andrew on 17th August 2012 11:10am

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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
No, I see their point. There could be a confusion where it looks like the title is "Sins of a Solar Empire" and it was made by Rebellion. Had it been that the word Rebellion was used as part of a longer phrase I doubt they would have been bothered.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dave Herod on 17th August 2012 9:28am

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Show all comments (15)
John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London4 years ago
Sorry, but that's ridiculous. The only difference between this and the whole Edge fiasco is that Rebellion actually still make games. None of which have Rebellion in the title, AFAIK.

While they're at it, perhaps they should also sue EA over the Mass Effect 3 Rebellion pack.
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Greg Knight Freelance Developer 4 years ago
I believe that you have to enforce your trademark otherwise you risk the term becoming generic - still it's only the lawyers that win in the end.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters4 years ago
No, Edge was completely different. They waited until a game was successful and popular and then jumped out of nowhere to demand royalties and credit, the company existed solely for exploitation of a trademark for profit. As it says in the article, Rebellion already asked them to stop using their trademark previously and were ignored. I assume Rebellion aren't doing this to make a profit, but to just to stop someone else using their trademark.
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Paolo Giunti Localisation Project Manager, GlobaLoc GmbH4 years ago
This feels silly to me, regardless of what Rebellion's true intentions are.
If you make your brand name out of a single common word taken straight out of the dictionary, then you gotta expect others to use it in their product.
Rebellion may even be genuine in simply trying to protect their trademark, but, sorry, I'm still siding with Ironclad and Stardock on this one.
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James Persaud Game Programmer, Firefly Studios4 years ago
The game has become known as "Rebellion" and the developers as the "Rebellion devs" so I can sort of see where Rebellion are coming from in the present age of free-for-all marketing/publishing and zero editorial discretion. I suppose they're worried that the hashtag/searchterm/whatever that's meant to describe their studio will become hijacked. This wasn't such a problem 12 years or so ago when there was a Star Wars game with the same name. Not knowing too much about how these things work, or about internet marketing I'd have assumed it was a good thing if suddenly the name of your company was everywhere - unless of course Stardock were claiming it as a trademark of their own.
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James Persaud Game Programmer, Firefly Studios4 years ago
In response to Tom: Publishers probably think that's how it works ;) (would explain many things)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Persaud on 17th August 2012 4:37pm

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago
The game has become known as "Rebellion" and the developers as the "Rebellion devs"
Really? That's bizarre... I could see the game being called "Sins Rebellion", as short-hand. Or, possibly, as simply "Rebellion" on the game's forum. But in both cases, it's fairly obvious that it's just a shortening of the full title, which is something you can't really guess the route of when naming something. I think, anyways.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 17th August 2012 5:09pm

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Maybe I should set up my own company called "A". Then I can file suits against All of you using my company name in your comments without my express permission! Then again... free marketing?

Unfortunately I think they've gotten away with this before. back in the '90s Lucasarts Made a game called Star Wars: Rebellion, but but in the UK it was released as Star Wars: Supremacy. This may or may not be accurate, but reason I heard at the time was "a trademark dispute with a UK games company'. If you pick a common word as your company name, it's your own fault if that word gets used elsewhere!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Christopher Beckford on 17th August 2012 5:40pm

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Gary LaRochelle Digital Artist / UI/UX Designer / Game Designer, Flea Ranch Games4 years ago
"Still don't get how you can Trademark a common word so it can't be used by anyone else even as a subtitle to another title, A combination or phrase and a logo sure but just the English word."
I agree that the lawsuit has no merit. But, the game of Ping Pong has been around a lot longer than the electronic game called "Pong".
Just try and make a game called "Battle Pong" or "Cat Pong". The Atari lawyers will be jumping all over you.

BTW the English meaning of the word "Pong" is "an unpleasant smell; stink".
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Andrew Animator 4 years ago
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Corey Skiffington Programmer/Scripter 4 years ago
In this case I'd wish they'd keep the lawyers on a leash and spend some of that wasted legal budget on developing their next title.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game4 years ago
@ Alex O'Dwyer
Whilst I agree, and appreciate you don't make policy, maybe you should tell that to your bosses:
http://www.projectrockstar.com/
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