Activision does, in fact, have the right to use Humvees as a mode of transport in their Call of Duty games, a New York federal judge ruled. AM General LLC, the Humvee manufacturer, took the publisher to court over the “unauthorized depiction” of their vehicles back in 2017, and their case was dismissed on Tuesday.
AM General had claimed that Activision was knowingly infringing upon their trademark – especially since some of their promotional events for the games had a Humvee present – and that players were “deceived into believing that AM General licenses the games.”
However, US District Court Judge George B. Daniels decided that the vehicle’s depiction falls under the First Amendment as it helps maintain realism in the games, noting that Activision’s use of the Humvee does not confuse users in any way. This means that there is really nobody out there who is going to think Activision is selling the Humvee in any way, shape or form, which is AM General’s job.
Judge Daniels also wrote that it was “metaphysically possible for [Activision] to have produced video games without the presence of Humvees,” but adds that, “If realism is an artistic goal, then the presence in modern warfare games of vehicles employed by actual militaries undoubtedly furthers that goal.”
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