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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Maggan

Writer for CY_BORG, Forbidden Lands and Dragonbane
Looks like there has been an update on the Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wastelandsaga1/renegade-city/posts

Seems to be resolved.

Wow.

The Polyhedral Knights came out of this looking like real knights. They even let Renegade Game Studios pretend that they had won concessions, thus letting RGS save face.

But everything is coming from The Polyhedral Knights, and not a word from Renegade Game Studios. Very disappointing that RGS is handing over all the PR work to others, while quietly exiting though the back door in the hopes of no one ever speaking of this again.

Weird. If I was RGS I'd change lawyers, if this was indeed an idea of their law firm.
 

BnaaUK

Explorer
Wow.

The Polyhedral Knights came out of this looking like real knights. They even let Renegade Game Studios pretend that they had won concessions, thus letting RGS save face.

Yeah, I now will probably never get anything that Renegade Game Studios put out, but I'm going to keep my eye on the Polyhedral Knights to see if there are stuff they put out that interests me.
 


And if I were their law firm, I’d consider changing clients, if the idea was the client’s.
True, although to be honest, even if it was Renegade Studio’s idea, the law firm won’t be hurt by it at all, and likely got more than the usual number of billable hours out of it! After all, it's not like their reputation has taken a hit here, just Renegade Game Studios'.
 
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aramis erak

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.
Your intent doesn't matter much to public opinion; people tend to judge on actions. That your company made a ham-fisted and unlikely to prevail if pressed overreach generates a lot of bad opinion. It makes y'all look greedy and anti-competitive. (and worse that violate the filters.)

And inept, since so many other titles on DTRPG and in print use Renegade within the non-gambling gaming industry.
 



Haiku Elvis

Knuckle-dusters, glass jaws and wooden hearts.
So how will this affect my planned Renegading Renegades: The Renegade Roleplaying Game (Renegade Edition)?
(I know @Alzrius already got there with the Renegade TV show link but all I could hear in my head when reading the above post was this)

"He was an RPG designer, and good at his job. But he committed the ultimate sin and released an RPG with Renegade in the title that annoyed another RPG company - A company that tried to shut him down, but got the GTA pastiche RPG he saw on Kickstarter instead. Framed for Trade Mark infringement, now he prowls the badlands, an outlaw hunting outlaws, a bounty hunter - a RENEGADE!"
 

Autumnal

Bruce Baugh, Writer of Fortune
My first game, Negade, came out four years ago and did okay. But I feel like the oversaturated superhero movie fans market may be more interested now in the theme of anti-energy fruit juices. I was planning a Kickstarter for Renegade, Juice’s Next Generation, for later this year. But how can I go through with it now?

Bruce exits, sobbing.
 

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