Riot Games has reportedly consistently blocked the communications app Discord-like Riot.im, also known as Riot Chat, from registering its trademarks, partially resulting in the company announcing that it will change its name to distance itself from the League of Legends and Valorant studio.
Riot.im announced today that it would be moving away from the Riot branding for its app, after allegedly being prevented from trademarking the messaging client’s name by Riot Games.
Riot.im is a messaging client based on the Matrix protocol, developed by the company New Vector Limited. While it has no affiliation to Riot Games, its name has seemingly caused problems between the two companies.
“As some may know, we’ve had a few problems with the name Riot over the years,” Matrix.org technical co-founder Matthew Hodgson said in a blog post. “Firstly, the biggest by far has been from a certain large games company that has consistently blocked us from being able to trademark Riot or even Riot.im – which has been a huge issue when it comes to defending users against abusive forks of the app. We’re in a terrible position if someone forks Riot using the same or similar name and logo, makes some dubious changes, and we can’t take action to persuade the app stores to remove it.”
It isn’t unusual for a company to block another company from trademarking a name that may infringe upon its own brand. Even if there’s little chance of consumer confusion between the two companies, often the copyrighting is halted to protect the original brand. Given that Riot.im went into beta in 2016 and Riot Games was founded in 2006, the latter certainly has a right to protect its name from being used by Riot.im.
Hodgson also went on to say that Riot Games’ involvement wasn’t the only reason for the name change — New Vector also felt that Riot’s name was confusing for users considering its lack of co-branding, while it also felt the name could lead users to believe “that the app is focused on violence.”