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Activision says Humvee lawsuit over vehicle trademark is an ‘attack’ on First Amendment rights

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Back in 2017, the makers of Humvee military vehicles sued Activision Publishing for using Humvees in Call of Duty titles without permission of Humvee. The makers of Humvee were seeking millions in missed revenue opportunities from Activision not getting permission to use Humvee in their titles.

Humvee vehicles have been used in more than just Call of Duty games; they have been used in TV shows and movies and the outcome of this lawsuit could impact all of those industries not just Call of Duty titles.

Activision finally responded to the lawsuit in a new filing with courts on Friday, May 31 saying that the lawsuit is a direct attack on First Amendment Rights.

“This case is nothing less than a direct attack on the First Amendment right to produce creative works that realistically depict contemporary warfare,” opens a summary judgment motion filed by Activision. “AM General LLC, a government contractor that manufactured military ‘HMMWV’ (or ‘Humvee’) vehicles for the U.S. military, seeks to use trademark law to control the mere depiction of those vehicles in Defendants’ fictional Call of Duty video games. The use of purported trademark rights to restrict the content of expressive works is dangerous under any circumstance. But the claims in this case are particularly egregious because they involve a U.S. military vehicle paid for by American taxpayers and deployed in every significant military conflict for the past three decades.”

Activision goes on to claim that the company never stated that the vehicles are actually Humvees and that the company is not competing with AM General in any way in the businesses that they both operate in.

HUMVEE® has been featured in every Call of Duty game almost, being prominently used in the titles’ campaigns and backgrounds of multiplayer maps.

The lawsuit from AM General, the makers of Humvee, included Activision, Activision Blizzard, and Major League Gaming Corp, all of which are all owned by Activision Blizzard Inc.

AM General filed a brief responding to Activision’s lengthy response claiming that the company has profited from Call of Duty using HUMVEE without every seeking permission.

“A defendant who engages in willful infringement may not invoke laches,” states AM’s brief, which can be read here. “[T]he evidence is undisputed that Activision acted willfully. The evidence comes from Activision’s own documents, its executives’ deposition testimony, and its own conduct. The evidence proves that Activision used the HUMVEE® Trade Dress knowing that it had no right to do so, knowing that it was unlawful to do so, yet intending to reap a substantial benefit from its widespread, unauthorized use.”

AM General’s brief that was filed is redacted in many areas by a judge, so it’s hard to depict some of the information they are trying to argue on. One section states that “although many military aircraft and vehicles appear in those of the Call of Duty games that are set in current and near-future times, the HUMVEE® vehicle is the only military vehicle that appears in every one of them. In fact, so valuable is the HUMVEE® vehicle to the Call of Duty franchise that Activision’s president admitted that..” The rest of that is redacted, as Activision executives deposition in this case is not available.

SOURCE: Hollywood Reporter

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Activision

Activision files cease and desist letter against another cheat manufacturer

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Activision Blizzard continues to take down cheat manufacturer sites to stop the spread of different cheats for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone.

In August, the company filed a lawsuit against CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to be used in an IP owned by Activision Blizzard. CXCheats since deleted all cheats for Modern Warfare and Warzone in compliance with the lawsuit.

Now, in September, another large cheat manufacturer, GatorCheats, has said that Activision Blizzard has filed a cease and desist letter to stop them from making cheats for Call of Duty games.

The owner of GatorCheats said in their Discord that the first letter was filed by in May 2020, but they did not fully comply with that – opting to allow cheats to continue to be available.

In May 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys contacted me via a Cease and Desist letter. Considering this event, I decided to act on my already pending decision to close all sales to new customers for my product relating to Modern Warfare and Warzone.

Activision has since escalated the requests. In Sept. 2020, the owner of GatorCheats claims that Activision Blizzard served another cease and desist letter. But, this time, a PI showed up at his residence with the letter and informed him of what Activision knows about their site and the owners behind it.

In September 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys had another Cease and Desist letter hand delivered to me by who I assume was a PI, considering he knew my family members by name and made a point to showcase that he did. Also in September 2020, I received very clear communication in a follow up from Activision Blizzard’s attorneys communicating that they would litigate (file a law suit against me) if I didn’t comply with continuation of stopped sales as well as a complete stoppage of interaction with and updating of any products related to their client’s products.

The full letter from the owner states that he will “never make or create” a cheat for an Activision Blizzard product again after receiving the letters and a visit from them at his house.

Activision has not commented on their anti-cheat initiatives since June, where the company said they continue to ban players on a regular basis.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Activision files lawsuit against cheat manufacturer

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Activision filed a lawsuit to sue a company responsible for creating hacks and exploits for Modern Warfare and Warzone.

Activision has sued CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to use in Call of Duty, the company announced.

CXCheats claims on their website that they are “dedicated to quality.”

This is a pathetic marketing line to convince users to buy cheats to use in Call of Duty.

The owner announced on Discord (message posted to Reddit) that they are removing Warzone cheats from their site.

Announcement Message

As some of you may know, Activision Publishing, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against CXCheats and has made it clear to us that our services violate their Terms of Use.

As a result of our lawsuit with Activision, we have agreed to cease development and support for all Call of Duty related products or services sold through the site. These products will not be returning to CXCheats in any form. You also should be aware that using third-party tools in Call of Duty may result in the suspension or banning of your account by Activision Publishing, Inc. or the game’s developers. We apologize for any pain we’ve caused to players of Call of Duty.

Call of Duty: Warzone has been experiencing an intense amount of hackers since the game’s launch on March 13 on the PC platform.

With cross play, the hacks impacted the console players as well. PS4 players have opted to disable cross play to avoid them. Xbox players currently cannot disable cross play for unknown reasons.

CXCheats said on Discord that any user found using their software in Warzone will be banned, permanently.

Any user who utilizes unauthorized third-party software to gain an unfair advantage, manipulate stats, and/or manipulate game data is subject to penalty. Unauthorized third-party software includes, but is not limited to, aimbots, wallhacks, trainers, stats hacks, texture hacks, leaderboard hacks, injectors, or any other software used to deliberately modify game data on disk or in memory.

As of now, Activision has not commented on the lawsuit.

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Former MLB executive joins Activision Blizzard to lead Sports & Entertainment

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Activision Blizzard announced this week that former MLB executive will be joining the company starting August 17 in a newly formed position of President of Sports & Entertainment.

Petitti was the Deputy Commissioner and COO of MLB for years.

“Tony is one of the most highly regarded executives in sports and entertainment,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “His success in media and as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball is the perfect blend of skills to help us realize our aspirations for esports and our related businesses. He is admired by owners, media executives, players and fans.”

“Bobby Kotick has been translating his vision into opportunity at Activision Blizzard for 30 years. I couldn’t be more excited to use my own 30 years of sports and entertainment experience to help Activision Blizzard realize its ambitions,” said Petitti. “It’s clear to me the company has an incredible opportunity to connect players and fans in new and innovative ways, and I’m excited to be joining the company at such an important moment in its history. The last 12 years in baseball have been extraordinary for me and I am especially grateful for the leadership and mentorship that Commissioner Manfred provided to me and the League.”

Tony Petitti will join on to be in charge of the company’s esports businesses, which include Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, consumer products division, and films & television division.

Petitti will report directly to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

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