Activision Wins First Amendment Case to Depict Humvees in Call of Duty

A New York judge has denied claims from AM General that Activision is breaking trademark laws by depicting Humvees in its Call of Duty franchise.Reported by The Verge, AM General, the maker of Humvee vehicles used by the United States military, tried to claim that Activision had “affirmatively misrepresented” its product and was infringing on trademark laws by including the vehicles in its games without a licensing deal.

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Activision argued back that it had a first amendment right to feature the vehicles in its games because they, “involve a US military vehicle paid for by American taxpayers and deployed in every significant military conflict for the past three decades.”

Developers also argued that featuring the military vehicles in its game also had artistic value. “Any reasonable juror would conclude that the presence of Humvees in Call of Duty games possesses an artistic value that is at least ‘above zero,'” cites the official court documents.

In the end, the judge ruled that Activision had a legal right to use Humvees in its games, and could continue to do so. If you’d like to know more, you can read the full 29-page ruling online.

The gaming industry is no stranger to lawsuits, as there have been a handful of companies brought to court over the past few years over claims of trademark and copyright infringement. Most notably, Fortnite creator Epic Games was sued by Alfonso Ribeiro for its emote depicting the famous “Carlton” dance. However, the courts ruled in favor of Epic, stating the dance could not be copyrighted.In 2018, the creators of PUBG attempted to sue Epic over similarities between the two games but then ended up dropping its suit. For more, be sure to check out a brief history of the dumbest gaming lawsuits.

Andrew Smith is a freelance contributor with IGN. Follow him on Twitter @_andrewtsmith.

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