Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles received a surprise on Twitter when someone notified him of a new XFL football team that debuted with a logo and name suspiciously similar to one that he created years ago.
There are multiple issues at play that were brought to MonteCristo’s attention. The first is copyright law, and the standard used for determining that a defendant has infringed on a copyright is substantial similarity.
Previously the Los Angeles Renegades and now the Detroit Renegades, the esports organization and its respective branding were created back in 2015 and originally called themselves the Misfits. MonteCristo first came into the picture in June 2015 as a co-owner while also working as a broadcaster. The organization put forth teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Paladins, Vainglory, Super Smash Bros, and Rocket League.
The organization was sold to Boston Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko in September 2016.
Sam Castree, an intellectual property attorney not involved in this issue said in a statement to WIN.gg that there were clear similarities in play.
“Trademarks exist to guard against consumer confusion … So, Dallas Renegades vs. LA Renegades, I think that it’s safe to say that the marks are similar,” Castree said.
But Castree also offered a traditional sports comparison, likening this situation to the St. Louis Cardinals, a baseball team, and the Arizona Cardinals, a football team.
“No one thinks the Arizona Cardinals are going to start playing baseball,” Castree
Within this context, Castree mentions that a judge wouldn’t necessarily throw out a lawsuit, but it is yet to be determined if there is enough of a similarity to actually win a case.
In regards to a copyright claim on the art, Castree is doubtful that the claim would be successful. In order to win a copyright case, the works must be substantially similar according to the court.
“Each logo features a man drawn from the neck up, facing to the right, and wearing a hat and a bandana that obscures a lot of the face. But that’s where the similarities end,” Castree said.
Whether a lawsuit will be brought is yet to be seen, but as MonteCristo mentioned on Twitter, the suit would have to be brought by Jerebko, who owns the related assets as of 2016.