With all of the potential for drama that already exists in the vast world of professional gaming, the last thing any major organization wants is a legal fight on its hands. That’s just what “FaZe Clan” is facing now at the hands of San Francisco clothing company, FAZE Apparel. FAZE Apparel have been in business since 2007 and have sold their clothing online and through several retail stores worldwide. The clothing company is now suing FaZe Clan for the team’s use of the word “FaZe” on apparel and merchandise.
This comes from court documents filed recently with the U.S District Court for the Central District of California. FaZe Clan made a name for themselves in the world of esports back in 2010, when they became one of the most popular teams for FPS titles like Call of Duty and Counter Strike.
A preliminary injunction motion was granted on May 22nd by district judge R. Gary Klausner that will prevent FaZe Clan from selling any more products adorned with the word “FaZe”. The team will have to wait until the case is resolved before resuming sales of the merch in question. As litigation is still pending between the two feuding parties there was no statement given by either side.
FAZE Apparel received rights to the word “FAZE” by the U.S Patent and Trademark Office in June 2014. The retailer is now seeking damages that amount to the tune of $2 million per counterfeit mark by FaZe Clan. They also want their trademarks upheld by the court.
Back in May 2013, FaZe Clan also registered their own trademarks for “FaZe” and “FaZe Clan Sniping With Style” for use on clothing and merchandise. This claim was refused by the U.S Patent Office due to the trademarks already registered by FAZE Apparel. In July 2013, the team tried again to register “FaZe Clan” for use in videos, games, and clothing items. The clothing patent proved once again to be a point of contention, but the U.S Patent office ultimately approved the request in September 2015.
FAZE Apparel opposed the new trademarks, but FaZe Clan did not respond to the claims. As a result, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled in the favor of FAZE Apparel. Several cease and desist letters were consequently sent to FaZe. The team tried to circumvent the issue by running a secondary “RED MILITIA” clothing line. They also tried to negotiate a licensing deal with FAZE Apparel; the two sides were unable to reach an agreement.
The court issue now stems from FaZe Clan resuming the production and sales of “FaZe” products back in December. The following is a statement from the FAZE Apparel Website :
“FaZe Clan’s willful copying of the FAZE Marks is already producing consumer confusion,” FAZE Apparel’s lawyers at San Francisco-based firm Braunhagey & Borden alleged in the suit. “In the last several weeks alone, multiple customers have contacted FAZE Apparel to complain about FaZe Clan’s merchandise or customer service. For instance, earlier [in January], a consumer called the FAZE Apparel store to complain about FaZe Clan’s failure to promptly ship a sweatshirt that she ordered. Another customer contacted FAZE Apparel [in December] to ask why his FaZe Clan discount code wasn’t working — on FAZE Apparel’s website.”
A countercomplaint filed by FaZe Clan requests the court case be ruled in their favor and that all trademarks and patents with FAZE Apparel be canceled. The team also wants to be reimbursed for all attorney and legal fees.
Both parties involved in this case have a lot to lose, and both parties have seemingly gone all-in. As spectators, all we can do is wait for a verdict as this real-world battle plays out in the courtroom.
Tarah Bleier is a freelance writer , editor and content creator from Toronto. As a graduate from Centennial College’s Journalism program she has written for Tribute.ca, and Factinate.com and recently for Geek Enthusiast Magazine. In her free time she loves gaming, cosplaying, prop making and attending as many conventions and geeky events as she can. Writing has always been a passion of hers and she has been a contributing writer of The Planet Observer for many years before becoming its Assistant Editor last year. Her work can also be seen on The Geekcast Radio Network where she has been a podcast host and writer.