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Rocksmith: "No Agreement Has Been Reached" With UK Band

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Kris Ford, Legal, Music games, Rocksmith, Trademark, Ubisoft

Rocksmith: "No Agreement Has Been Reached" With UK Band

Following on from yesterday's announcement that Rocksmith would be coming to the UK on September 14th, Dealspwn has learned that disputes over the name and its trademark are still ongoing, according to Rocksmith band member Kris Ford.

"No agreement/deal has been reached [with Ubisoft], and no meaningful dialogue engaged," said Ford, in a statement to Dealspwn this morning.

Responding to the Ubisoft's announcement of Rocksmith the game's release later this year, Ford suggested that it was "interesting, but no surprise", pointing out that Ubisoft had done much the same thing in the United States: reportedly moving forward with the release in spite of trademark disputes.

"I’d recently discovered information indicating a late summer release," said Ford. "However with the OHIM (European) proceedings over the disputed trademark set to last for at least another 2 – 3 months (May/June) it’s a bit presumptive to say the least, as to the outcome of that process and decision.

"The game was launched in the US even in the face of a (still ongoing) duplicate trademark dispute. It is simply and typically indicative of [Ubisoft]’s attitude. Even if Ubisoft lose with the OHIM process they could still launch as per the US. Which will mean the start of a different kind of legal battle in the UK courts. In the absence of honour, ethics, and fair play, we have to rely on the legal processes for a fair resolution."

When we spoke to Ford last year, he revealed the reasoning behind standing up to Ubisoft on this matter, outlining the arduous process of gaining reputation as a band and watching that get threatened and "swept aside" by Ubisoft's actions, particularly online.

"Its not just about losing the name," said Ford last year. "Before their product was even launched there was a mass of PR material on the internet. And I mean MASS, there was lots of official PR but also loads of spurious stuff posted on Forums and Youtube. Our unfinanced efforts have been simply swamped and swept aside. Already people are thinking we are a covers band or whatever and its not good at all. [The band and I] have invested heavily into Rocksmith and not just in financial terms. Getting known is tough enough without someone throwing millions at usurping you. Rocksmith were at the Vans Warped Tour! No they were not, Ubisoft were!!!"

Several months on, and it would seem that Ford is still up to his neck in "legal BS", as he puts it, but he's quick to point out that he has no issue with the game itself, although he revealed that this process has led to a certain amount of "abuse" from some corners of the gaming community.

"That UK/EU launch date is quite close to my birthday and the OHIM decision should have been reached and settled by then. Either way I shall look upon it as a present especially as it should stop the malicious and threatening abuse from dim witted potential Ubisoft customers. I am genuinely pleased for the gamers/musicians who have been frustrated by the delay caused by Ubisoft’s decision making."

We're excited for Rocksmith's release later this year, but we can't help but feel this could all have been handled far better by Ubisoft. Needless to say we've contacted them for comment.

Add a comment4 comments
DivideByZero  Mar. 16, 2012 at 12:01

It's a s*** name anyway... why not just rename the game.

Guitarsmith would be much more apt.

a) you play more music than "rock", indie, grunge and even some light metal.

b) in a rock band, you have guitar, bass, drums, vocals and not JUST a guitar, which is all you can seem to play in this version of Rocksmith.

So just call this one Guitarsmith and be done with it - the next one can be called Bandsmith and have Vocal, Bass and Midi drums also.

Timmm  Mar. 16, 2012 at 15:42

It's a s*** name anyway... why not just rename the game.

Guitarsmith would be much more apt.

a) you play more music than "rock", indie, grunge and even some light metal.

b) in a rock band, you have guitar, bass, drums, vocals and not JUST a guitar, which is all you can seem to play in this version of Rocksmith.

So just call this one Guitarsmith and be done with it - the next one can be called Bandsmith and have Vocal, Bass and Midi drums also.


Well your point (b) is valid, but re (a) how crazily uptight a definition of "rock" do you want? Indie, grunge and metal light or heavy are all minor flavour variants of the broad genre called rock, or better yet rock/pop.
I don't care what it's called, & your suggestion is constructive. But if you exclude all these types of music from the meaning of "rock" what is left inside it, I'd be genuinely interested to know? And what band would be boring enough to stay rigidly inside any one of these straitjacket labels?

yakityyakblah  Mar. 16, 2012 at 19:38

It's a s*** name anyway... why not just rename the game.

Guitarsmith would be much more apt.

a) you play more music than "rock", indie, grunge and even some light metal.

b) in a rock band, you have guitar, bass, drums, vocals and not JUST a guitar, which is all you can seem to play in this version of Rocksmith.

So just call this one Guitarsmith and be done with it - the next one can be called Bandsmith and have Vocal, Bass and Midi drums also.


They've already announced that bass support is coming, and surveys have shown they are inquiring about drums. You actually already can do vocals in the game, it's not a very well implemented feature, but it's there. Also, branding is important, with the money invested in making one name known it's wasteful to try and invest that into another name if it can be avoided. Guitar Hero just didn't change it's name, when you build a brand you leverage the awareness of that brand whenever possible. Especially not in the next sequel before you've even built franchise awareness.

Rocksmith is a good catch all title, and rock is regularly used as a catch all. Nobody needs to have it explained that it has other styles of music, but they would assume "guitar smith" only had guitar. It's just smarter in the long run to choose names that allow for expansion within the brand instead of creating a new one.

MattGardner  Mar. 18, 2012 at 00:43

It's a damn good name. Catchy, punchy, concise, and sums up what you're selling in a single epithet. It's not just about pressing buttons, it's about forging talent.

Having a unified brand for something like this is crucial too. But considering Ubisoft must have pumped money into this already, surely a little more to avoid controversy would have been more than appropriate.

Then again, as a large company with a large legal team, they can probably afford to stonewall and ignore, too, and hope that disputes will fade away. It's an underhand tactic, but often effective. That's personal speculation, mind.

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