Activision sued over Modern Warfare 3

Activision is in hot water over Modern Warfare 3, with fellow developer Novalogic claiming the FPS violates its trademark, and uses a version of its logo without permission.

Novalogic claims:

Although there is much lore surrounding special operation units, only because of the ‘Delta Force’ series does the general public identify the logo with any ancillary existing military unit.

Delta Force badge from Novalogic

Delta Force badge from Novalogic

A little back-story: Last year’s Modern Warfare 3 makes reference to the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D), also known as “Delta Force”. Despite the term being in widespread use, the United States Army has never formally acknowledged the name, meaning Novalogic was able to trademark it back in 1998 to use for its own brand of first-person shooters. Since 1998, Novalogic has grossed $150 million in international sales, and launched “at least 10” versions of the games.

Courthouse News reports Novalogic sent Activision a cease-and-desist letter in May 2011 and a second in December, but both were ignored.

Delta Force badge from Modern Warfare 3

Delta Force badge from Modern Warfare 3

As a result of defendants’ wrongful conduct, NovaLogic has lost millions of dollars, possibly more. If defendants’ infringing practices are not discontinued quickly, it is likely that the damage to NovaLogic will grow exponentially, causing more confusion in the market place, and to the reputation for quality that NovaLogic has worked so hard to establish.

And yes – defendants, plural. Activision is not alone in this lawsuit: Partners Turtle Beach and Microsoft are also targeted over their limited-edition hardware and peripherals, while BradyGames included the offending content in its official strategy guide.

None of the defending parties have responded to the suit at this stage.

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