Humvee Maker Sues Call of Duty, Activision for Trademark Infringement

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Image via Huffington Post UK

Makers of the Humvee military vehicle filed a lawsuit against the makers of the video game “Call of Duty” and the publisher Activision accusing them of copyright infringement.

According to the suit filed in a US District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, AM General LLC accused Activision of using their trademarks without permission. The suit also claims that “Call of Duty” uses the “Humvee” and “HMMWV” marks on other products besides video games, like books and toys.

Launched in 2003, “Call of Duty” has become one of the best selling video game franchises in the world. In fact, it’s been the highest selling game in North America for eight straight years. “Call of Duty” sales topped 250 million units, with revenues exceeding $15 billion last year.

AM General said that some of “Call of Duty’s” success came “only at the expense of AM General and consumers who are deceived into believing that AM General licenses the games or is somehow connected with or involved in the creation of the games.”

That is why AM General wants their cut of the pie.

“Humvee” and “HMMWV” stands for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. AM General is an American heavy vehicle and a contract automotive manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana. According to AM General, the company produced nearly 3,000,000 Humvee’s.

They seek compensatory, punitive and triple damages from Activision, after more than a year of communications failed to end the dispute. AM General does have an active trademark with the USPTO.  Hence, it seems like they have an actionable suit.

The Trademark:

AM General’s trademark for “HMMWV” covers vehicles, namely, trucks… Obviously.

Image via USPTO

What is trademark infringement?

Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services.

What happens when a trademark is infringed upon?

1. A court order (injunction) that the defendant stop using the accused mark

2. An order requiring the destruction or forfeiture of infringing articles

3. Monetary relief, including defendant’s profits, any damages sustained by the plaintiff, and the costs of the action; and

4. An order that the defendant, in certain cases, pays the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees.

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