Riot Games sues esports organzation Riot Squad over trademark infringement

(Image credit: Riot Squad (Instagram))

Riot Games, the maker of League of Legends, has filed a lawsuit against Riot Squad, an esports organization (that, ironically, does not play League of Legends), over allegations of trademark infringement. The suit alleges that Riot Squad is intentionally making use of Riot's name in order to encourage gamers to think that the two organizations are somehow related.

"Riot Squad Esports LLC ('Riot Squad') has unfairly and unlawfully adopted and exploited the Riot brand name in connection with its marketing, advertising, and promotion of a nascent esports organization that it claims was 'founded by gamers, for gamers'," the lawsuit states (via Polygon). "Riot Squad apparently hopes and intends that by its use of the Riot brand name, consumers will mistakenly believe that its esports organization is in some manner associated with, sponsored or endorsed by, or otherwise affiliated with Riot and its hugely popular products and services."

Riot Games is extremely well-known on the esports scene, and gaming in general, while Riot Squad is a newcomer, having been founded in March 2019, according to Liquipedia. It maintains teams in CS:GO, Fortnite, Rainbow Six: Siege, Apex Legends, and PUBG, and also has a two-person "Twitch Squad."

Exacerbating the potential for confusion, according to Riot's claim, is that Riot Squad sometimes refers to itself as simply "Riot," and puts particular emphasis on the word in its logo. One very obvious example of that is a photo of team members wearing jerseys branded with only the word "Riot." The suit also complains about Riot Squad's claim to be founded "by gamers, for gamers," which "mirrors the guiding principle on which Riot was founded more than a decade ago." The Riot Games website says the company was founded "to develop, publish, and support games made by players, for players."

Riot is seeking an injunction against Riot Squad's use of its trademark, and also wants compensatory and punitive damages, legal costs, the cost of covering "corrective advertising," and "all gains, profits and advantages derived from the unlawful acts alleged herein."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.