By Isaac Chandler
November 8, 2019
As teams accepted into the franchise system for next year’s Call of Duty League have begun revealing their new names, there’s been a lot of discussion on how many traditional orgs abandoned the CoD scene after being informed they’d need to either change their name or make their brand exclusive to CoD.
OpTic took the latter approach and shuttered most everything outside of the CoD team, while Envy took the former approach and renamed their squad the Dallas Empire.
One org, however, appears to have found a loophole to the naming rules, as FaZe Clan has managed to both secure their brand as a CoD franchise and keep their FaZe Clan teams in other titles like CSGO and R6 Siege.
Activision has been very clear with their rules on team names in the CDL and OWL: you either make your brand exclusive or make a new name.
This was done so that spots who changed ownership in the future would still be recognizable to fans and incentivize them to get invested in supporting their city’s team.
But FaZe seems to have found a way around this with the Atlanta org now known as the Altana FaZe.
How exactly got around the rule remains a mystery, even to other owners.
Heretics’ founder responded, in an interview about the team’s failed attempts to pursue a franchise spot, that he was personally unaware that teams could pull off such a move and hinted many old orgs would have stayed had they known that was a possibility.
When Adam Fitch questioned Atlanta’s CEO about the matter in a recent interview, they merely brushed it off by suggesting that the question should be directed at Activision, not themselves.
While FaZe and Atlanta seem to be mum on the matter, looking at home they’ve handled the naming may give us clues to how they managed to keep the FaZe name connected to the CoD franchise and beyond.
The spot isn’t run by FaZe Clan, merely operated by them for the Atlanta ownership group, meaning that, technically, the org isn’t directly named after FaZe Clan and could be considered and homage to the legendary org.
The name itself also gives hints, as the team is merely called FaZe, not FaZe Clan, suggesting the difference is enough to work as a loophole around trademark issues between the two brands.
Is it illegal by the rules of the league? No, and that’s why they’re doing it and actively flaunting the fact.
Are we likely to see this again in the future? Probably not.
Activision likely isn’t happy a team has found a loophole in their new league already, and other orgs are likely to be furious that an iconic brand identity was able to be maintained without dropping all same-named teams in other games while they all had to go out and drop squads or come up with entirely new brands.
While nothing has been done so far, expect that loophole to be closed in the coming weeks and months to prevent a similar incident from happening again in the future.