Rebellion suing Stardock over Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

Trademark infringement suit alleges substantial losses suffered as direct result of confusion from strategy game's name.

Rebellion is suing Stardock over Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. The trademark suit, which was filed in June in Stardock's home district of Eastern Michigan, alleges that Stardock knowingly infringed on Rebellion's trademark on its name as it pertains to video games both with the title of the space-faring real-time strategy game and in its promotional materials.

The offending logo.

Rebellion did not stipulate a set amount of damages, instead leaving it to the court to determine how much it was "deprived of substantial sales of its products" and "the value of its trademarks as commercial assets." Rebellion provided several examples where it claimed consumers would have been easily misled, including promotional materials which displayed the word "Rebellion" much larger than the preceding "Sins of a Solar Empire" and some that referred to the game only by the disputed trademark.

Rebellion, which is based in the UK, is the developer behind Sniper Elite V2 and both the 1999 and 2010 Aliens vs. Predator games. Besides publishing Sins of a Solar Empire, Stardock also developed Elemental: War of Magic and The Political Machine 2012, among others.

GameSpot contacted Stardock for comment on the lawsuit, but was told the company does not speak on ongoing court cases. Rebellion had not responded as of publication time.

[CORRECTION]: This article previously identified Stardock as the developer of the Sins of a Solar Empire series. It was developed by Ironclad. GameSpot regrets the error.

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Zeran_kariashi
Zeran_kariashi

They have no case. It's called Rebellion because there's rebellion's breaking out in the storyline, and all the previous x-packs have used the primary buzzword in larger type. Though I imagine that's probably why Star Wars: Rebellion was marketed as Star Wars: Supremacy in the UK.

madm3rv
madm3rv

I bet the defense will argue that the trademark and the video game title look dramatically different and are not precisely the same venues (one is a trademark, the other a title piece).  I bet the offense will argue that the word rebellion is enough to create confusion, which is the core of their infringement argument.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

There needs to be a law that prohibits people from trademarking certain words in certain contexts.

Seriously, the world "Rebellion" belongs to them always and forever? Forget you, guys. That's dumb.

 

Almost as dumb as WWF having to change its name to WWE.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

I still don't understand what this is all about. What are the names of the games that are so similiar?

SolidTy
SolidTy

Another day, another lawsuit. I have to wonder how the developer Rebellion is losing money, as the game and developer are two different things. The real problem is the laws.

mrklorox
mrklorox

Wait a minute. Are people actually talking like The Political Machine is any better than Sniper Elite V2? Yeah Rebellion isn't known for making good games, but Stardock certainly isn't either.

Falzonn
Falzonn

I can understand Rebellion's desire to try and protect their trademark, but I don't see them winning a very large amount of money from it (if anything at all).  The large 'Rebellion' text in Sins game doesn't bother me.  It quite clearly says 'Sins of a Solar Empire' in large & legible enough text, with the Rebellion there to emphasize that the game is different from the other Sins games.

 

Now, whether or not Stardock/Ironclad  KNOWINGLY and INTENTIONALLY used large 'REBELLION' text in an attempt to steal developer Rebellions business is another matter, and one which has to be proven.

Rox-pox
Rox-pox

So not only Rebellion makes shitty games, it repeats the same mistake Bethesda did against Mojang.

 

blackothh
blackothh

sue lucas arts while u are at it, the rebellion in the the box art looks like its big enough to sue for.

 

Star Wars: Rebellion 

 

how the EFF does this have anything to do with lost sales of their company? the company must have some really stupid fans if they cant tell one game apart from a company

 

 

msfan1289
msfan1289

this is so stupid that Rebellion does not have a hard figure on how much sales money it lost, and leave it up to the courts, will be funny if the court says" well you made a lot of sucky games, so im guessing you only lost $1" 

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

As much as I hate lawsuits like this Rebellion really only had to choices in this matter, fight for their Trademark or lose it entirely so I while I think the lawsuit is stupid their hands were tied by current Trademark laws.

DarkSaber2k
DarkSaber2k

It amuses me just how few people in the comments fail to have even the slightest clue as to how trademark protection has to be carried out.

blackothh
blackothh

Im going to trademark the word lawsuit, that way i can get royalties for every time ridiculous shit like this happens.

KING-TYPO
KING-TYPO

I can just see it. no one in the world could ever use the word rebellion anymore without paying royalties... man so many countrys that used the word might have to pay because they had citizens that plotted a rebellion! oops i said it again!.. i guess the star wars franchise will have to pay to because they use the word rebellion in the movies a lot.... " soon the rebellion will be crushed!"  dang it i said it AGAIN!!

majere613
majere613

I think people are misunderstanding the issue here a little. The big problem is the level of prominence given to the word 'Rebellion' in the logo. Take a look at most big-name author's books, and you often find the author's name is big, and the title small. To a marketing mind, that means the SOS:R logo may confuse people as to who it is sold by.

You have to protect your trademark in cases like this, or if you try to protect it later, lawyers will cite earlier times when you didn't. Can you imagine someone releasing a game called "Genetic Warrior: BIOWARE" or an art package called "White Light: ELECTRONIC ARTS" and not being sued? In this, Rebellion are most guilty of picking too ubiquitous a name, which will hurt them, but I can see why they're taking this action.

Gandoclaus
Gandoclaus

Thing is, people are actually going to buy this game unlike anything this trashy dev has delivered.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Rather spending their time / money suing each other, why don't Rebellion invest to develop better games, AVP and Sniper Elite V2 is a mediocre games.

Briantb_2008
Briantb_2008

There sued for the name of the game? ......Yeah I just dont get how they think the name took money from them.

Stonewall_89
Stonewall_89

Sins of a solar empire has been releasing information on the Rebellion installment for a while. Why was they not sued then, before they posted the game to steam and made some sales.

 

MMaestro
MMaestro

Sounds like Rebellion is going bankrupt if they're crazy enough to file a lawsuit over something like this.

thom_maytees
thom_maytees

I do not see this trademark case as being valid and a tough case for Rebellion to prove that its name was infridged by Stardock.

Ghetto_ninja
Ghetto_ninja

I loved AvP however Rebellion dropped the ball with it's absolute atrocious online. It was a shame too since the multiplayer demo they released prior to release date of the game is the reason I bought it. The single player was awesome at least. 

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

I'm confused... how can they claim that they've lost sales over this?  If it's a dispute between a franchise name and the name of a game title, it's at least understandable.  The name of a game and a company name however?  Is anyone honestly that stupid?

 

I think they're mad that no matter how many times they put Sniper Elite v2 on sale on Steam, NOBODY will buy the damn thing.

datbush
datbush

considering that most if not all of rebellions games range from meh to total crap, its not suprising that they have to resort to trying to make a quick buck by trying to sue somebody over something stupid

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

Congratulations Rebellion I just lost whatever respect I had for you.

"deprived of substantial sales of its products" yeah right. They might have a case if there games were any good.

 

I hope the case gets thrown out and costs awarded against them.

 

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

I wished somebody would sue Rebellion for making 95% garbage games.

strayfies
strayfies

So they think "Rebellion" isn't common property and must be protected?

 

Pick a better name next time.

And yeah Ironclad developed it, Stardock publishes.  It's a great game.  Not related to Elemental: War of Magic, you might want to remove that part as being listed as "also developed".  

KFHEWUI
KFHEWUI

Sadly this is the only way Rebellion can make money because they sure heck can not make good games.

 

Makes me wonder a company that is constantly releasing crap on a consective basis can still stay business especially considering how long Rebellion has been around.

mietha
mietha

I'm pretty sure Stardock would do anything possible to NOT be confused with Rebellion.  You would have to be insane to want to be charged with making some of the POS games Rebellion has.  On a side note, I didn't know they owned 2000 AD.  How the hell did that happen?

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

Not sure how confusing it is....unless Sins Of A Solar Empire used Rebellion's font for their marketing....haven't seen any ads for the game though......not in print or online......

This could go either way......

broly17
broly17

OH man, this is the whole "Scrolls" thing all over again. Companies be getting greedier ever day.

Hazmat963
Hazmat963

Epic games should sue Disney for Epic Mickey.

msfan1289
msfan1289

this is stupid the name of the game uses Rebellion, it does not say it was made by Rebellion. WOOOW really? well thank god Rebellion made sucky @$$ games.

Mallaci
Mallaci

By the same logic of all of these types of lawsuits, there won't be any words to use for any title. Wait, did my sentence just infringe on a dozen of trademarks?

Zeran_kariashi
Zeran_kariashi

 @blackothh Rebellion is based in the UK and the Europe release of Star wars: Rebellion was renamed Star wars: Supremacy.

majere613
majere613

 @msfan1289 Actually, that's the most sensible thing about this suit. They're not trying to claim massive damages, they're hoping that Stardock will be ordered to change the design of the logo and/or take some other remedial action and to get their costs covered. That's the main thing that differentiates this from a lot of 'copyright troll' lawsuits.

majere613
majere613

 @KING-TYPO You see, that's exactly what I was just talking about. There have been plenty of games using the word 'Rebellion' in the title, just type it into the search on Amazon or wherever and they'll pop up. What this is about is the way 'REBELLION' has been given more prominence than the rest of the title in the marketing and logo for this particular game. That's where, if it's someone else's trademark, you start to run into trouble.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

 @majere613 Bioware first of all isn't even a real word.  You'd have real trouble defending against a lawsuit from them in a case like this.  Electronic Arts is two words, and not a commonly used phrase outside of talking about the company.  There's not a whole lot you can apply it to anyway.  Imagine the game title "Hacker: Electronic Arts"... it fits, but you're asking for it.  =p

 

Rebellion on the other hand is much more common.  Star Wars: Rebellion did exactly the same thing with it's box, and Rebellion didn't sue LucasArts in 1998.

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

 @AyatollaofRnR If anything this will only hurt the game's sales, because nobody who sees "Rebellion" on the front of a game case will want to buy it.

Zloth2
Zloth2

 @broly17

 Nah, they've been going on just like this for centuries.

mietha
mietha

 @Hazmat963 You say that as a joke, but the first time I heard the name, I really did think they were making it...

Zloth2
Zloth2

 @Mallaci

 Yeah, but don't worry about it.  Once you hit 'post comment' your words become property of Gamespot so they get sued, not you.