Many people in Florida love to play video games and compete in or watch esports, professional competitions in the video games world. The competition in esports can be fierce but so can the disputes between companies in the industry. Well-known video game company Riot Games has filed a trademark infringement against an esports firm, Riot Squad, accusing it of using the company’s trademarks to build their own brand and reap the profits of a nonexistent association. Riot Games is best known as the manufacturer of “League of Legends,” a popular game in esports competition.
Riot Games sponsors esports competitions, especially in the “League of Legends” field. The world championship it sponsored in 2018 drew in 100 million viewers to watch the competition live. It claims that Riot Squad is taking advantage of consumer confusion to build its esports brand, despite there being no connection between the companies. Riot Squad does not compete in “League of Legends” tournaments. According to its website, the team competes in tournaments for games like “Counter-Strike,” “Global Offensive,” “Apex Legends” and “Fortnite.”
Riot Games says that Riot Squad is engaged in unfair competition and false designation of origin as well as trademark infringement. Because both firms are involved in the video games and esports space, customers may easily believe that the two companies are affiliated. Because Riot Games’ titles are so popular, it argues that Riot Squad is profiting from creating a false impression among consumers and even business partners. The gaming company noted that the esports firm emphasizes the word “Riot” in its logos and promotion.
Customer confusion can play a major role in undermining a brand and diverting funds to a separate company. Businesses can help to protect their rights by working with an intellectual property attorney to pursue companies responsible for trademark infringement or copyright violations.