League of Legends developer Riot Games has filed a lawsuit against Chicago-based esports organization Riot Squad.
Riot Games alleged Riot Squad management “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 has trademarked “Riot” and “Riot Games” when used in connection to video games and esports, it said.
Riot Games asked a California court to forbid Riot Squad from using the Riot marks and award the developer damages for its use — and for the esports organization to “deliver up for destruction” all materials and products that use the mark. In the lawsuit, Riot Games specifically calls out the prominence of the word “Riot” in the esports team’s marketing in logos and on jerseys.
— Riot Squad Esports (@RiotSquad) September 27, 2019
Riot Squad, notably, does not own a League of Legends team, but fields rosters in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, Rainbow 6 Siege, Apex Legends, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Two streamers, Kristin “Chibi” Stein and Taylor “THump” Humphries, are signed to its “Content Squad” to stream on Twitch. The esports organization was founded in 2019 and has a relatively small audience — 8,128 followers — on Twitter.
Riot Games was founded in 2006 in Los Angeles, California. In 2015, majority investor Tencent purchased the remaining equity in Riot Games and now has full ownership of the League of Legends developer. The company hosts multiple League of Legends leagues across the globe.
Neither Riot Games nor Riot Squad have responded to Polygon’s request for comment before publication time. The full text of the lawsuit can be found here:
Update: Shortly after publication, Riot Games declined to comment on the lawsuit.