An organization that includes some of Twitch’s most popular streamers has been accused of using aggressive trademark legislature against competitors. Team 2G, a collective that hosts personalities such as Tim “Trick2G” Foley and Akinola “Blakinola” Verissimo, has allegedly filed a trademark for the term “sub wars” and is being accused of trying to prevent anyone from outside of the organization using it.
The term “sub wars” refers to when people who subscribe to a Twitch channel are invited to compete against each other or the streamer they support. They’ve proven a popular way for personalities to interact with fans, but they’re are also popular with viewers, as the streamer will often add their own commentary or perspective on the actions of those in the spotlight. It can be a tool for learning or a means for comedy, depending on the direction the broadcaster wants to go in.
Foley was the streamer who popularized sub wars, even if it’s not clear he’s the one who invented the term. Now, several other streamers have reached out to the Daily Dot to say they have been approached by Team 2G management asking them not to use the term “sub wars” in their broadcasts—or face consequences.
“They warned me that anything that was even closely related to the term ‘sub wars’ could be subject to action and asked I didn’t use it,” one streamer, who has asked for anonymity, told us. “It was made clear that anyone not a part of Team2G was not allowed to be using the term.”
The Team2G website has recently incorporated a registered trademark logo on the page related to its sub war rules. A search of the U.S. trademarks database confirms that a company called Team2G LLC has trademarked the term, which it describes as “coaching online video game players, organizing online video games between players and providing commentary on online video games.”
According to another streamer, it’s vital for management to go after streamers who use the term without permission. “It’s a money grab,” the streamer explained, “because people in Team2G have to pay 10 percent of their streaming revenue earned from their Sub War streams to the organization. Obviously if people outside the org can do it, then where’s the value for the streamer?”
They added: “It seems likely they will be working on allowing people to lease the name and then take a percentage from anyone who used it on their stream.”
This could obviously have an effect on many Twitch streamers. But the company declined to provide a statement for this article, saying it doesn’t comment on individual broadcasters.
When reached for comment, Team2G said it couldn’t “comment on rumors or a situation that has not existed.” A rep then added in a follow-up email: “We have asked [Twitch streamer] Poqito to not use it on his overlay but since, we are working on ways to make this accessible to the community.”
Update April 28, 2015 2:40pm CT: This article has been updated to include information from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Image via Team2G/Facebook