Activision Blizzard has been making headlines recently due to a number of lawsuits. That’s the nature of such a massive company, particularly one that’s struggled with alleged discriminatory practices. That kind of attention also draws in lawsuits that may not be as well-intentioned, however. The latest example is a lawsuit alleging Activision’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare used another company’s intellectual property. The somewhat audacious case has now been dismissed and with prejudice.
The case was raised in California this past year by entertainment company Brooks Entertainment, which claims to focus on film and TV production. Brooks Entertainment claimed that Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare impugned its intellectual property for its mobile games, Save One Bank and Stock Picker. Further, Brooks accused Activision Blizzard of basing the character Sean Brooks, which the case referred to as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare‘s “main character,” on CEO Shon Brooks.
Activision Blizzard responded quickly and dismissively to the lawsuit, even going so far as to claim that Brooks Entertainment’s allegations were so clearly incorrect that it was obvious the company had never played Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. For one, the Save One Bank and Stock Picker comparisons made no sense, as the accusation revolved around a far-future shopping mall that’s obviously not based on any modern setting or properties. Further, Sean Brooks is not Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare‘s main character.
Activision first threatened to file Rule 11 sanctions, which would lead to penalties for filing a frivolous court case revolving around nonfactual evidence, and then followed through in March. A California District Court agreed with Activision and dismissed Brooks Entertainment’s lawsuit this past month. The Activision court case could still potentially be appealed, but there’s been no confirmation of that decision from Brooks Entertainment as yet.
Since the Brooks Entertainment lawsuit was dismissed based on Activision’s motion related to Rule 11 sanctions, Brooks Entertainment should be fined as a penalty. The company will have to pay all of Activision Blizzard’s legal fees and costs as a result. Since the case was dismissed with prejudice, it also means the case cannot be refiled or file new charges surrounding similar allegations in the future.
Just because Activision Blizzard handled this lawsuit with relative ease doesn’t mean it doesn’t have other more serious allegations that it continues to wrestle with in the legal system. Lawsuits surrounding allegations of discrimination and abuse continue in California, despite a previous settlement made with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. There are also ongoing legal matters surrounding the efforts of groups within Activision Blizzard attempting to unionize. Microsoft will be inheriting a company with many issues upon completion of Activision Blizzard’s acquisition.