Protecting intellectual property in the video game world

Nashville gamers will more than likely recognize the name Riot Games. Part of why they recognize the name is due to its trademark, which the company says is under fire from an esports group called Riot Squad. Riot Games decided to take steps to protect its intellectual property by filing a trademark infringement claim against Riot Squad. 

The crux of the lawsuit centers around the use of the word "riot" in the esports group's name. Participants compete in events relating to video games. It appears that Riot Games believes it should have exclusive use of the word riot, which is integral to its branding. However, when looking at the two logos for the companies, there is no blatantly apparent similarity other than the use of that word.

Riot Games could face an uphill battle when trying to prove that Riot Squad infringed on its trademark. Part of the argument involves the fact that both companies exist in the gaming industry, so this may increase the confusion among gamers. The gaming company may want to make sure that people correlate it with the use of the word riot and not anyone else. The problem is whether the court will agree that the company has exclusive use of a word. With the backlog of cases in California, it could take months or years for this case to reach a courtroom, which could end up being costly for both sides.

Small businesses here in Nashville could also face trademark infringement claims similar to this one. Larger companies tend to fiercely protect their intellectual property in order to retain their place in a certain market. Any similar trademark, especially in the same industry could prompt litigation. When smaller companies receive notification of an infringement lawsuit, they need to take it seriously since the future of the small business could hang in the balance, especially if owners attempt to handle it alone. Securing legal representation could help find resolutions that do not involve expensive and lengthy litigation.  

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