Ubisoft has filed suit against concert production company Massimo Gallota Production on the grounds of trademark infringement, unfair competition, copyright infringement, cyber-squatting, breach of contract, and more.
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Filed against MGP and ten other John Does and first uncovered by Law.com, Ubisoft’s lawsuit asserts that though the defendants had signed a licensing agreement in relation to the 2019 Assassin’s Creed Symphony series, they registered the assassinscreedsymphony.com domain before it came into effect and continued to use the Assassin’s Creed’s brand after it was terminated in June 2020.
According to Ubisoft’s lawyers, MGP approached Ubisoft to propose the concerts in June 2018, eventually securing a deal signed by all parties between November 30th and December 1st that year.
One clause of this deal stated that MGP “shall not … acquire any rights in the Trademarks other than those licensed herein,” and clarified that they were t o only use the Assassin’s Creed license as Ubisoft agreed.
“Neither the Symphonic Show License nor the Merchandise License granted any right to MGP to register in its own name any domain name using the Assassin’s Creed Trademark,” the lawsuit alleges. “Rather, assuming Ubisoft approved of any use of a domain name to market an MGP-produced Assassin’s Creed Symphony, such registration was required to be held in Ubisoft’s name.”
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Further, MGP allegedly registered the domain for the concert series on October 3rd, 2018 – at which time negotiations were still ongoing and license was one month from being signed – and failed to inform Ubisoft of their purchase.
On January 30th, 2020, Ubisoft told MGP that due to their “failure to comply with the quality standard set forth in the Symphonic Show License,” the license would be terminated effective June 30th.
This would have occurred after the 2020 concerts concluded in March, though these shows were later cancelled due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On October 22nd, 2021, Ubisoft asked for the ownership rights to the assassinscreedsymphony.com domain, and MGP supposedly agreed to transfer them over.
However, having allegedly failed to receive the domain rights as of November 9th, 2021, Ubisoft claims to have then inquired “Were you able to start the transfer procedure for the domain name?”
Two days after this, MGP allegedly “responded by (1) refusing to transfer that domain name, (2) disputing Ubisoft’s termination of the Symphonic Show License and Merchandise License, and (3) demanding that Ubisoft either allow MGP to stage additional Events or pay MGP $250,000.”
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After Ubisoft’s counsel sent the production company “a formal demand letter, insiting that MGP transfer the assassinscreedsymphony.com domain name to Ubisoft” on December 2nd, MGP’s counsel allegedly spoke to them on December 9th and agreed to transfer the domain.
“However, on December 21, 2021,” the lawsuit claims, “MGP reneged yet again and expressly refused to transfer the […] domain name to Ubisoft.”
Ubisoft claims that MGP has continued to use the the Assassin’s Creed trademark and domain to promote themselves and their other events on social media well past the expiration of their license.
Such unauthorized uses have even continued into 2022, with a February 1st video from MGP’s Facebook showing a clip from the Assassin’s Creed Symphony, and a January 30th post published to both the company’s Facebook and Instagram advertising a newsletter “to stay up to date with all things #AssassinsCreedSymphony.”
Ubisoft also claims that MGP have “continued to use the Assassin’s Creed Copyright, specifically artwork and images from the copyrighted Assassin’s Creed Games, including on Twitter and on the assassinscreedsymphony.com website.”
This may be true, as the website does feature Assassin’s Creed images, along with the disclaimer “Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft and the Ubisoft logo are registered or unregistered trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment.”
More recently, the aforementioned Facebook clip of the Symphony’s performance was also shared to MGP’s Twitter on February 1st, with the company specifically making reference to the third entry in the series.
Name that one #AssassinsCreed main theme that hypes you up like no other.
For us is AC3’s 🦅 #AssassinsCreedSymphony#ACSymphony pic.twitter.com/WgWUcZyko4
— MGP Live (@MGPLiveNYC) February 1, 2022
The lawsuit also notes that Ubisoft has been in a “contractual relationship” with another group “in connection with producing and marketing multimedia symphonies based on Assassin’s Creed.”
Along with allegedly promoting a symphony it no longer had rights to, MGP allegedly contacted the current licensee, and told them they couldn’t market or produce their own Assassin’s Creed symphony as they had exclusive licensee rights.
Ubisoft also believes that MGP made false claims to venues for such events “that the Current Licensee may retain to host the symphonic events that it intends to produce.”
Additionally, Ubisoft’s lawsuit accuses MGP of “numerous breaches of contract.”
These include using the Assassin’s Creed brand to self-promote despite receivng multiple written notices from Ubisoft, continuing to perform a Symphonic show that failed to meet certain minimum quality standards despite eight written communications regarding the issue, and failing to meet the minimum touring markets requirements “long before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,”
Ubisoft also claims that along with causing confusion for consumers, MGP’s use of the series to self-promote “will continue to cause irreparable damage to the rights of Ubisoft in the Assassin’s Creed Trademark, which cannot be adequately compensated by money.”
To that end, the developer are asking for a jury trial and an “an amount in excess of $270,000, to be determined according to proof at trial,” for breach of contract.
They’ve also argued that they are entitled to some preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent MGP from using Assassin’s Creed materials and the offending domain.
Do you think Ubisoft have a case? Let us know on social media and in the comments below!
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