A two-year old court battle between Activision and Humvee manufacturer AM General has come to an end, with a federal judge ruling in Activision’s favor.
Back in 2017, AM General took Activision to court over the use of Humvees in Call of Duty without its permission. Judge George B. Daniels of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York sided with Activision, stating that the publisher’s intention is to portray military and armed conflicts realistically.
“Defendants’ uses of Humvees in Call of Duty games have artistic relevance,” reads the ruling. “Featuring actual vehicles used by military operations around the world in video games about simulated modern warfare surely evokes a sense of realism and lifelikeness to the player. 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.’”
Humvee claimed that it previously complained to Activision about the use of its vehicles in 1998 game, SiN, and the publisher had agreed to not use their likeness. Daniels wrote in his ruling that the 20-year old correspondence between AM General and Activision could not be used in the current case and that the use of Humvees in Call of Duty “do not demonstrate a desire to ‘sow confusion between the two companies’ products.”
“Put simply, [AM General’s] purpose in using its mark is to sell vehicles to militaries, while [Activision’s] purpose is to create realistically simulating modern warfare video games for purchase by consumers.”
Activision and AM General have not commented on the ruling.
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