Lawyer to pay Activision not to play Call Of Duty

Lawyer to pay Activision not to play Call Of Duty

This Marine is sitting in a chair staring off screen at someone in the middle of a conversation.

Say what now?
Picture: Infinity Ward

A lawsuit against Activision Blizzard was dismissed last month because, according to a judge in the Southern California District Court where the suit was filed, the plaintiffs did not play enough Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare to make an informed case against the maligned publisher. For once Activision Blizzard’s many contentious legal battlesthings ended smoothly.

In accordance a report by a trial attorney at the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (who tipped Kotaku of), Activision Blizzard was sued in November 2021 by Brooks Entertainment, Inc., a California-based company that specializes in film and television production and other forms of entertainment. But, Kotaku could not find an official website for the company. Brooks Entertainment and its CEO, Shawn Brookswhich describes itself as an inventor, claims to have the trademarks for the financial mobile games Save one bank and Share selector. It is worth noting that Kotaku also could not confirm the existence of these games. Regardlessall three of these units, along with Activision Blizzard and 2016 Endless warfarewas at the center of the trial.

In November 2021, Brooks Entertainment alleged Activision ripped off intellectual property from both Save one bank and Share selectoras well as the identity of the owner, i Endless warfare. To be more specific, the complaint claimed that the “protagonist” of the 2016 first-person shooter, Sean Brooks, was based on the company’s CEO and that all three games had “scripted fight scenes that take place in a high fashion couture shopping mall.” There were other similarities as well, but these allegations were at the heart of the complaint.

But if you’ve only played for an hour or so Endless warfare, you know this is wrong. First, the main character isn’t Corporal Sean Brooks not at all, but rather his teammate Commander Nick Reyes, a space marine who becomes the captain of the game’s primary militia. Besides, while it is a scripted fight scene in a shopping mall, it takes place in the far future in Geneva, one of many locations in the game, and Sean Brooks is not in it. You play as Reyes all the time.

In January 2022, Activision’s lawyer wrote to Brooks Entertainment’s lawyer that the complaint “contains[ed] serious factual misrepresentations and errors, and that the allegations made therein are both factually and legally frivolous.” If the company did not withdraw the lawsuit, Activision would file Rule 11 sanctions, penalties that require the plaintiff to pay a fine for making questionable or improper arguments without substantial—or, for that matter, accurate—evidence. And that’s exactly what happened in March 2022, when Activision filed a motion for sanctions against Brooks Entertainment, saying the plaintiffs failed to play. Endless warfare and provided inaccurate records.

The Southern California District Court accepted Activision’s proposal on July 12, Brook dismissed Entertainment’s lawsuit with prejudice (meaning the claim cannot be refiled in that court), and ordered the plaintiff’s attorney to compensate the troubled publisher for the money and time it wasted. In its conclusion, the court said that the plaintiff failed to conduct a thorough and reasonable investigation of the relevant facts about the game before filing the proceedings.

“Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is a first-person shooter, not first- and third-person as claimed, and Sean Brooks does not perform a scripted fight scene in a high fashion couture mall, the court said in its ruling in favor of Activision. “Plaintiff’s counsel could have easily verified these facts before filing the factually baseless complaint, just as the court easily verified them within the first hour and a half of playing the game.”

Kotaku contacted Activision Blizzard for comment.

Richard Hoeg, a lawyer specializing in digital and video game law, said Kotaku that unprotectable concepts such as names of people used in fictional entertainment are quite difficult to copyright and claim infringement of.

“It’s hard to say why the case was brought up,” Hoeg said. “If an outfit gets kicked out *with sanctions*, it wasn’t very good in the first place. It may simply be hubris, or it may have been counsel encouraging a case against a well-resourced party. The suit itself says [Brooks Entertainment] added a game to Activision between 2010 [and] 2015. All told, the infringement suit is awful, alleging infringement of such unprotectable concepts as: ‘Shon Brooks navigates both exotic and action-packed locations and Sean Brooks navigates both exotic and action-packed locations.’

Hoeg went on to say that it’s difficult to get “actual sanctions imposed on you” because there would be a level of bad-law enforcement far beyond just a simple dismissal.

– The court basically finds the whole argument crazy, Hoeg concluded. “Brooks Entertainment even included Rockstar Games for no reason (which didn’t help their case with the judge). So the sanctions here are Brooks Entertainment [has] to pay Activision’s legal fees and costs.”

While things may have ended well for Activision this time around, the disgraced publisher is still causing legal headaches. The company was just blown off Diablo developers for union-busting. Again. Ugh.

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