Do any of you Star Wars’ fans know how Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon?
The answer is: in a game of cards, called Sabacc, against Lando Calrissian. (Specifically, it was a variant of Sabacc called "Corellian Spike," played with a pair of six-sided dice. Thank you, Wookieeepdia.) Website Dork Side of the Force calls Sabacc “a combination of Black Jack and poker, but it’s rules are a bit more complicated.”
Disney’s Lucasfilm says it’s been using the Sabacc name in card games, comic books, theme parks, and more, since it was first introduced on film in 1978. And now, writes The Hollywood Reporter, the company is suing Ren Ventures over a mobile game app based on the card game.
According to Variety, Ren Ventures started selling a mobile game app called Sabacc in 2015 and registered a trademark for the name in international classes 9 (computer game software) and 41 (entertainment services) in August 2016. Then, last December, Lucasfilm challenged the registration by filing a lawsuit against Ren Ventures for trademark and copyright infringement, along with unfair competition.
Ren Ventures is now fighting back, claiming that registering a trademark for a product that doesn’t exist is “not plausible,” using the argument that trademarks identify and distinguish a source of goods and services in commerce. It’s asking the court to drop Disney’s trademark infringement claims.
The Hollywood Reporter points out similarities between this case and another trademark infringement lawsuit involving a film-based product — “Clean Slate” software — that was referenced in ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ a Warner Bros. film. In that movie, it is said that Clean Slate software didn’t exist, but in reality, a company called Fortres Grand had been producing software with that name for a decade.
In that case, the courts decided for Warner Bros. The district court found that Warner Bros. hadn't infringed and stated that use of the words “the clean slate” were protected by the First Amendment. On appeal, Warner Bros. won again, this time based on Ren Ventures’ failure to prove “reverse confusion.”
Back to Sabacc . . . There’s a fun tip of the hat to Han Solo’s gold dice that he used in that famous game of Sabacc against Lando Calrissian, which appears in the recently released ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi.’ Did you notice it? Click here if you aren’t afraid of spoilers . . .
Update, April 29, 2018: Variety reports that Ren Ventures is now suing Lucasfilm, claiming that the Disney company is infringing on its trademark by using the game in marketing for the film 'Solo: A Star Wars Story,' which is scheduled for release in May.