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Rocksmith: Ubisoft battles band for game name

For most gamers, Rocksmith is an upcoming rhythm title from Ubisoft, which allows you to play your own, real guitar along with the characters on the screen.

For five men from England, however, "Rocksmith" is an unsigned band they've been gigging around the Southend region with for years, currently working on their debut album.

Rocksmith, the band

Rocksmith, with Kris Ford centre

Drummer Kris Ford had the foresight to register the band's name even before finding musicians to play with him, owning the Rocksmith trademark for eight years total. The first he heard about Rocksmith the game was when Ubisoft tried to register the title in March 2011.

Ford claims that his efforts to defend what is rightfully his have already cost him hundreds of pounds, and he's looking at potentially losing thousands more.

He explains:

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.

The drummer believes that Ubisoft are intending to "stonewall" the band until a pre-set deadline which will see the software company winning the name by default. If that happens, Ubisoft can order the band to stop using the name they've had for years.

Rocksmith's stage set-up

The Essex band's stage display

Until this year, Ford had been very proud of the band's seemingly unique moniker.

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 we Ubisoft will at least discuss it with me.

Realistically, he doesn't believe this will happen, accusing the French company of using "big-business bully-boy strategies", and claiming Ubisoft are exploiting the company's increased access to legal services.

They’re effectively trying to steal our name.

While all of this is being waged in the UK, you wouldn't know it. Ubisoft have spent months promoting the upcoming release - taking a "tour bus" around the United States and appearing at major gaming expos such as E3.

A spokesperson for Ubisoft told local media:

I can confirm we are aware of the band’s opposition to our trademark application and that a representative of the band contacted us via email. We have replied to them, also via email. In general we do not comment on ongoing legal proceedings so I cannot disclose further details.

This story was featured in Episode 25, Season 2 of GamePron News:

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8 Responses to “Rocksmith: Ubisoft battles band for game name”

  1. Chris says:

    To find out more about Rocksmith the band, our website details are:-



    • will says:

      what are you playing at?! your going about this all the wrong way you should be dealing with them letting them use the name and getting exclusive rights to having your bands music featured as downloadable content for the game that gets you more known around the world thrusting you into mainstream music scene and also giving you loyalties from the downloads of your music onto the rocksmith game.

      ive been waiting for this game for about a year now since it was announced and spent ages looking for were it had gone so i shall be following this story very closely and really hope the game is released

      • Chris says:

        This approach was explored with Ubisoft at the outset :-(

        • will says:

          i really do feel for you and the band this cant be a nice thing to be going though but i really hope some arrangement can be made i for one was really looking forward to the game. cant you share rights to the name after all rocksmith the band and rocksmith the game are different genre and it will boost your popularity with all this press. i will be following the progress and hope for the best outcome for yourself and for ubisoft. i was looking forward to learning the guitar via the game being a drummer and wanting to move to the guitar just not having the money for a tutor or the patience to self teach this game was ideal for me to get going i own a guitar and everything in anticipation of the game.

          heres to a fair outcome to this situation for both parts i hope to see the game in stores soon and if your ever playing in my area i will be sure to come see the band

    • KoriDee says:

      Kris Ford should should legally change his name to Rock Smith…problem solved

  2. toymachine says:

    They don’t seem to care about RocksmithTokyo or RocksmithNYC the urban/hip hop clothing line though?

  3. […] note it apparently has nothing to do with the trademark case in the UK over a band who’s currently using the Rocksmith […]

  4. jeme says:

    Shouldn’t you just lincence them a brand for shitload of $?

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