Band Battle Video Game Company For Their Own Name

Ubisoft show the ugly side of big business   05-Aug-11

Band Battle Video Game Company For Their Own Name

Here's a story that might strike a chord with some of our readers struggling with rock n' roll star aspirations.

A band from Southend, England, called Rocksmith are in a battle with video game giants Ubisoft. The games company are currently in the process of producing a music game called... you guessed it – Rocksmith.

The drummer of the band, Kris Ford, registered the name in 2003 – before the band had even formed. Rocksmith then formed in 2007, and have been using the name ever since, building a social network following of around 50,000.

He discovered Ubisoft's plans to use the Rocksmith title in March this year, and has subsequently spent hundreds of pounds defending the name. If he wants to start a legal battle, it could cost him thousands more.

Ford recently told The Rock News Desk:


“I first registered the name ‘Rocksmith’ in 2003 and the band have been together since 2007. We were recently voted the UK’s number-one unsigned act and we have a social media following of about 50,000.

“Ubisoft have a legal trademark pending. It cost me €350 (£305, $495) to file an official opposition – and if lawyers have to get involved it’s likely to cost me thousands more.

“I’ve emailed Ubisoft direct about it. They ignored me until they were given official notification of my opposition on July 22. Then they responded on July 27 claiming I’d contacted them on July 13, when it had been weeks earlier.

“They asked for ‘proof of my allegations’ and I was able to supply evidence to show we’ve been using the Rocksmith name for years.”


Ford seems determined to keep the name, but knows it will be a battle:


“I spent ages thinking up a word which describes what the band is all about. We’ve worked hard to use it to help achieve the modest recognition we’ve gained so far.

“Losing the name would tear the heart out of our approach. So I don’t intend to stand here and let it be stolen – I hope... Ubisoft will at least discuss it with me.

“But for now it looks like they’re hoping to steamroller their trademark application through then tell us we’re using their name illegally.

“They’re using big-business bully-boy strategies against us, knowing we can’t afford access to the law like they can.

“They’re effectively trying to steal our name.”

Ubisoft have already started promoting the name, using Dave Navarro as a poster boy.


Rich Beech



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