When you're a big company with a brand to protect, lawsuits are a pretty standard part of the game. However, usually, that means a company has to defend itself against suits. In a new case, Disney is actually filling the suit. The lawsuit is against the developers of a mobile game who have produced a digital version of Sabacc, a card game within the Star Wars universe. The app developer filed their own trademark application for the name two years ago, but Disney has now requested that a court cancel the mark, as it will cause confusion with their own game.
While never mentioned by name in any of the Star Wars films, Sabacc was revealed to be the card game being played when Lando Calrissian lost the Millennium Falcon to Han Solo. As such, it's an important, if little discussed, corner of the Star Wars universe. However, it turns out that Lucasfilm never actually trademarked the name. According to Variety, they instead used the Star Wars trademark as a sort of umbrella, under which they tried to protect a lot of additional material. Ren Industries, the creator of the app, is focusing on this fact in their response to the lawsuit, claiming that just because Sabacc appeared in some material that contained a Star Wars trademark, it doesn't protect the name Sabacc itself.
On the other side, Disney points out that the Sabacc app exactly follows the rules to the game set out in the Star Wars novels where it appears, clearly trying to take advantage of the Star Wars association.
Quite often lawsuits like this are filed simply because they need to be. Even if Disney didn't have a specific problem with this app, not filing a lawsuit means that if, down the road, they did find a reason to get into a serious legal fight over this name, the fact that they let the other trademark stand could actually be used against them. However, this might not simply be a technical issue. With the upcoming film Solo: A Star Wars Story set for next summer, there's a distinct possibility that we could see Sabacc make its big screen debut. The film will deal with the early life of Han Solo and we know that Lando Calrissian will also appear. It's possible that we could see Han win the Millennium Falcon in the movie, making Sabacc, and potential merchandise expected to go with it, very important for the next Star Wars movie.
There's no indication when a decision will be made on Disney's motion. We could see a judgment made soon, or this could carry over into 2018. With Solo: A Star Wars Story set to debut in May, it's possible the rights to Sabacc won't even be known if and when the game appears on film.