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Atari, Inc. v. North American Philips Consumer Electronics Corp.

672 F.2d 607 (1982)

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Atari, Inc. v. North American Philips Consumer Electronics Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

672 F.2d 607 (1982)

Facts

Atari, Inc. (plaintiff) owned the copyrights to the Pac-Man video game. In Pac-Man, players controlled a gobbler that ran inside a maze made up of hundreds of pink dots and four power capsules. The gobbler ate pink dots to gain points and evaded ghost monsters to avoid death. If the gobbler ate a power capsule, the gobbler temporarily experienced a role reversal and could destroy the ghost monsters. As the gobbler moved, it quickly opened and closed its mouth in a V shape. North American Philips Consumer Electronics Corp. (North American) (defendant) sold a video game called K. C. Munchkin that was nearly identical to Pac-Man with minor differences such as the gobbler’s color and smile and the dots’ color, number, and placement. Atari sued North American for copyright infringement, and the district court denied Atari’s motion for a preliminary injunction. Atari appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wood, J.)

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