The California-based video game company Riot Games, which is best known for its ‘League of Legends” series, has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the esports organization Riot Squad. The litigation, which got filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that the Chicago-based esports tournament organizer violated rights protected by the Lanham Act and is engaging in unfair business practices prohibited by California law.
The two companies do not compete against each other directly and have dissimilar logos. Riot Squad has also not organized any ‘League of Legends” tournaments. However, the lawsuit appears to have been filed because both companies operate in the video game sector and have names that include the word ‘Riot.” Riot Games claims that it has invested heavily in esports tournaments and alleges that Riot Squad chose its name to cash in on this investment and confuse or deceive consumers. The company is seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages for trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin.
Legal experts expect the trademark infringement litigation to be dismissed by the court or settled at the negotiating table. The federal courts in California are currently backlogged, and the case is unlikely to go to trial until mid-2020 if the parties are unable to reach an amicable settlement.
Attorneys with experience in intellectual property cases may seek to avoid costly litigation by monitoring the business sectors their clients operate in and acting swiftly to address possible infringement. Lawyers could also file a notice of opposition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to prevent trademarks that could confuse the public from being registered. When efforts to prevent infringement are unsuccessful and attempts to resolve disputes amicably are rebuffed, lawyers could argue vigorously to protect the intellectual property rights of their clients in court.