Cards on the Table in Star Wars Lawsuit

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King High Poker hand, by flickr user Guts Gaming, licensed by Creative Commons

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

A mobile game developer has been dealt a bad hand after naming one of their card games apps after a fictional Star Wars property. The lawsuit was filed by Disney and Lucasfilm in the state of California and seeks to protect its intellectual property and trademarks. The app is modeled after a game called “Sabaac”, which is how Harrison Ford’s character Han Solo came about winning his infamous ship, the Millennium Falcon. The app maker is a company called Ren Ventures, which happens to be named after a character in 2015’s Star Wars movie The Force Awakens. Disney recently released Star Wars Episode IX The Last Jedi in the theaters, and is also gearing up for a new film revolving around a “young Han Solo”. Rumors are that the card game could play a pivotal part in the plot of that movie.

Disney, who know owns Star Wars as an entity, has filed the federal trademark lawsuit and hopes to prevent Ren Ventures from profiting off the card game app. It references the screenplay of 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, which references the pivotal plot point of Han Solo defeating his “buddy” Lando Calrissian in a game of sabaac. The pot in this fictional game was the Falcon, which has now become synonymous with Han Solo, Star Wars, etc. The game company counters that Lucasfilm never actually filed a trademark for “Sabaac”, and argues that they should be able to use it. The card game never actually made the final cut of the film, and quickly became popular among die hard Star Wars fans. Solo: A Star Wars Story will be released this spring.

It may seem a little silly for Disney to seek “damages” from a small company profiting off of their intellectual property. However, trademark and patent laws are fairly specific, and one would assume that Ren Ventures is not going to find a happy ending. It seems like Ren is finding another way to cause Han Solo pain, much like ending of The Force Awakens itself. Still, the card game making headlines is an interesting talking point for serious Star Wars fans, especially with the indication that it will play some role in the upcoming movie. Almost 40 years later, it looks like a feature film appearance for sabaac is finally in the cards.