Rebellion are suing Stardock and Ironclad Games over the use of the term “Rebellion”. Ironclad’s standalone expansion pack for their strategy series was called Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, and the trademark suit claims that the use of the word has “deprived [Rebellion] of substantial sales of its products”. Blimey.
To further their argument, the court document provides a few examples of why Rebellion believe they’ve been hard done by. Exhibit B claims the box art for the game showed the word “Rebellion” was much larger than “Sins of a Solar Empire”, which is true, and that people buying it might believe they are getting a game from the developers of Sniper Elite V2 and Aliens Vs. Predator, which I have a hard time believing.
That claim is supported by the inclusion of a confused comment on a YouTube video: ‘The developers over at “Rebellion” talks to us about what to expect from their newest game. As a tech rebel or a tech loyal, you will get to command legions of warships into a galactic space battle. Check out the video for more’. As well as articles using the word “Rebellion” as shorthand for the game’s full title.
This is trademark law in action. People have to be aggressive in order to retain use of the name. That said, SoaSE’s plot did include an actual rebellion in its story, and describing a thing with an accurate term should probably be afforded some sort of protection. Rebellion are requesting a jury trial to sort it out. I hope it ends civilly, but it already has the smell of a scary fight. All over a word.
I’ve been on a jury – I was terrified and didn’t want to do it, but then when I had to it was oddly fun. I stopped a thing from escalating, but I’m not allowed to talk about it.