Renegade Studios Sends C&D To Stop Small Creator Using The Word 'Renegade'

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Every few years in the TTRPG industry, this happens--a company attempts to prevent others from using certain words in their product names. Normally, that's a trademark issue and perfectly understandable: you can't call your game 'Dungeons & Dragons' for obvious reasons. But sometimes companies call in the lawyers to stop usage of common words or terms which are not trademarks in themselves. Games Workshop and 'space marine' hit mainstream news about 10 years ago, Lone Wolf issued C&Ds over the term 'army builder' in 2010, and now Renegade Game Studios--which makes a number of licensed TTRPGs such as Transformers, GI Joe, and Vampire: The Masquerade--has apparently laid claim to the word 'renegade'. This often results in the Streisand Effect and has the opposite result to that intended.

The Polyhedral Knights had a recent Kickstarter for a game called 'Renegade City' which is billed as a tabletop RPG where you play criminals, and uses dominoes rather than dice. According to Cannibal Halfling Gaming, a couple of days ago The Polyhedral Knights received a letter from Renegade Game Studios' lawyers demanding that they remove the word 'Renegade' from the title of the game.

“Unfortunately, your use of the term “Renegade” in the title of your new game creates the likelihood that consumers might be confused between our client’s games and your game, or believe that the two are connected or affiliated. The likelihood of confusion is particularly acute because you are using the “Renegade” element on the identical types of products that are sold by Renegade, and you are both selling to the same types of consumers in the same market channels. As such, Renegade must ask that you agree to rename your game to remove the “Renegade” element. As such, Renegade must ask that you agree to rename your game to remove the “Renegade” element.”

Renegade Game Studios has allegedly threatened to issue a trademark complaint to Kickstarter (although the campaign is over, so it's a little late for that!) unless The Polyhedral Knights complies by June 23rd.

Mickey Barfield, the creator of Renegade City, spoke to Cannibal Halfling Gaming a couple of days ago:

“It really caught me off guard and frankly upset me. I am blown away at how they can think that my game title “Renegade City” will take away from them in any shape or fashion. Our Kickstarter is about to end in 9 hours [3:08 PM EDT] and we just now get this? I’m still pretty hurt over this. It seems like if they are willing to go after me over something like this, then what is stopping another company like Wizards of the Coast from going after some other company cause the word Wizard is used in a title of a book or game? It’s crazy.”

The news first broke on Twitter when Sprinting Owl Designs reported that "a designer I've previously worked with (The Polyhedral Knights) reports that he just got cease and desisted by Renegade Game Studios (Hunter 5e, GI Joe) for having the word 'renegade' in his game's title."
 

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ScottG

Villager
Renegade’s intent is only to protect its brand and prevent any direct or indirect confusion. In this specific case, the game in question bares an extremely strong resemblance to an intellectual property not owned or licensed by Renegade Game Studios. Even an accidental affiliation, today or in the future, is something we would prefer to avoid. Our intent was to prevent any such confusion well before any issues arise and while there is still time to make changes before their production begins.
 

theworstdm

Explorer
Renegade’s intent is only to protect its brand and prevent any direct or indirect confusion. In this specific case, the game in question bares an extremely strong resemblance to an intellectual property not owned or licensed by Renegade Game Studios. Even an accidental affiliation, today or in the future, is something we would prefer to avoid. Our intent was to prevent any such confusion well before any issues arise and while there is still time to make changes before their production begins.
That really doesn't come across as your intent in the C&D
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Renegade’s intent is only to protect its brand and prevent any direct or indirect confusion. In this specific case, the game in question bares an extremely strong resemblance to an intellectual property not owned or licensed by Renegade Game Studios. Even an accidental affiliation, today or in the future, is something we would prefer to avoid. Our intent was to prevent any such confusion well before any issues arise and while there is still time to make changes before their production begins.
Kevin Siembieda, is that you?
 

Abstruse

Legend
Renegade’s intent is only to protect its brand and prevent any direct or indirect confusion. In this specific case, the game in question bares an extremely strong resemblance to an intellectual property not owned or licensed by Renegade Game Studios. Even an accidental affiliation, today or in the future, is something we would prefer to avoid. Our intent was to prevent any such confusion well before any issues arise and while there is still time to make changes before their production begins.
Which is why you sent a threat via lawyers to use Kickstarter's flawed IP reporting system rather than informing them in a less confrontational and more professional manner of your request. Sure. I hope it was worth it to cement your place next to 2000s Games Workshop and 1990s TSR in tabletop gaming history as overly-litigious bullies.
 

Abstruse

Legend
Renegade’s intent is only to protect its brand and prevent any direct or indirect confusion. In this specific case, the game in question bares an extremely strong resemblance to an intellectual property not owned or licensed by Renegade Game Studios. Even an accidental affiliation, today or in the future, is something we would prefer to avoid. Our intent was to prevent any such confusion well before any issues arise and while there is still time to make changes before their production begins.
BTW, here's a list of well over 300 other Cease & Desist orders you're going to have to draft if you want to claim that simply using the word "Renegade" is infringing on your trademark and liable to cause consumer confusion. It's all the TTRPG products on DriveThruRPG right now that use the word. Because if you don't send the same order to everyone on that list - which I might add would include your licensor on the World of Darkness IP, Paradox Interactive, as owners of White Wolf's RPG titled Renegades - you have no basis to claim that Renegade City is infringing or liable to cause consumer confusion.
 

It likely is a reflexive action to anyone using the word 'renegade' in a product name or trademark and not particularly noteworthy. The GTA trade dress though is.
 

SilentJay

Explorer
It took a minute, but I figured it out. They want TPK to remove the word renegade because they're afraid that Rockstar Games will mistakenly go after RGS for the infringement, not because they just oppose having the word in the title.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
It took a minute, but I figured it out. They want TPK to remove the word renegade because they're afraid that Rockstar Games will mistakenly go after RGS for the infringement, not because they just oppose having the word in the title.
That was my reading of their post as well. However, if Rockstar did do that, all Renegade studio has to do is say “Wrong company. That’s not us”. And it would be the end of it for them. No need to send a C&D. This is bad PR. And a poor excuse.
 

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