The Seattle-based artist Juli Adams has won the right to pursue an intellectual property lawsuit against the American toy company Hartz Mountain Corp., reports Reuters. The company manufactures stuffed animals based on the popular Angry Birds video game.
On Monday, US District Judge Robert Lasnik denied a motion submitted by the toy manufacturer to dismiss the case.
Hartz Mountain Corp. maintains that it owns the Angry Birds trademark, and that it bought a five-year license for Adams’ imagery in 2006.
However, the artist has argued that when the best-selling Angry Birds game came out in 2009, the company signed a deal with the game’s Finnish developer Rovio, breaching the agreement with Adams.
Adams’s attorney Tom Loeser told Reuters, “When Angry Birds the video game came along they dumped Juli Adams’ line, started selling the Rovio stuff instead, and cut her out completely.” He adds that Rovio has expanded into TV and clothing, but was unable to sell stuffed animals because “Hartz had already registered that trademark for the toys that Juli Adams designed.” Loeser claims that his client may have been denied millions of dollars by the move.
The motion to dismiss filed by the toy manufacturer states, “Hartz owes no duty of exclusivity to (Adams) under the agreement.” The company insists, “It does not even mention the trademark Angry Birds.”
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