Rovio is a well-known name in the mobile world. This is a Finnish video game developer which has a ton of mobile games currently available for download which are available on multiple mobile platforms. Angry Birds is easily Rovio’s most popular series, we’ve seen a ton of sequels to the classic Angry Birds game as well as a couple of spin-offs here and there. Rovio is doing really well, but they company is in the middle of some lawsuits as well, though not exactly directly… let me explain. Artist Juli Adams claims that she lost millions of dollars from sales of plush pet toys called “Angry Birds” because of Rovio and the aforementioned Hartz corporation. U.S. District Judge, Robert Lasnik, rejected a motion by the Hartz Mountain Corporation seeking the dismissal of Juli Adams’ lawsuit.
This saga actually began back in 2006 when Hartz asked Ms. Adams to design a line of plush pet toys and by the end of that year both the company and the artist signed a five-year contract. Angry Birds game / franchise started booming back in 2009 when Hartz and Rovio signed a contract that which let Hartz sell Rovio’s pet toys based on the Angry Birds game. Adams says that Hartz sold her intellectual property to Rovio without her knowledge, or as her lawyer said: “When Angry Birds the video game came along, they dumped Juli Adams’ line, started selling the Rovio stuff instead, and cut her out completely”.
Hartz is trying to sell a different story and has asked the court to dismiss the case by saying: “does not even mention the trademark ANGRY BIRDS, and does not contain the necessary quality control provisions. Hartz owes no duty of exclusivity to (Adams) under the Agreement”. Adams doesn’t even claim that she designed the Angry Birds game, she only claims that there are significant similarities with her own line of plush pet toys and the game’s characters. Hartz Corporation claims that they owned the Angry Birds trademark, but the judge said that Adams has made a rather plausible case in all this, so the appeal was dismissed by the court and the trial will soon commence. This will be a really interesting trial it seems, let’s wait and see what will happen.