Electronic Arts, Inc. v. Textron Inc.

103 U.S.P.Q.2d 1984 (2012)

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Electronic Arts, Inc. v. Textron Inc.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California
103 U.S.P.Q.2d 1984 (2012)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

Textron Inc. and its affiliated companies (Textron) (defendant) designed and manufactured helicopters for use in the United States military, including the AH-1Z, V-22, and UH-1Y models, also known as VIPER, VENOM, and OSPREY. Electronic Arts, Inc. (EA) (plaintiff) developed video games, including the Battlefield series, a military combat-simulator game. EA included several of Textron’s helicopters in the Battlefield games by image and by name, in advertising, packaging, and gameplay. The Textron helicopters were given prominent roles in the games, both as transport and combat vehicles and as selling features for consumers in advertising materials. However, the game packaging stated that any depictions of vehicles in the games did not indicate affiliation or sponsorship. EA filed a complaint for declaratory relief for noninfringement of Textron’s trademarks, and Textron filed multiple counterclaims, arguing various types of trademark and trade-dress infringement. EA moved to dismiss Textron’s counterclaims on First Amendment and nominative-fair-use grounds.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Alsup, J.)

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