Seattle-based artist Juli Adams has secured the right to bring an intellectual property lawsuit against US toy company Hartz Mountain Corp., reports Reuters. The company makes stuffed animals based on the popular Angry Birds video game.
U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik on Monday dismissed a motion by the toy maker to dismiss the case.
Hartz Mountain Corp. maintains that she owns the Angry Birds brand and that she purchased a five-year license for the Adams images in 2006.
However, the artist argued that when the hit game Angry Birds came out in 2009, the company signed a deal with Finnish game developer Rovio, severing the deal with Adams.
Adams’ attorney, Tom Loeser, said Reuters, “When Angry Birds the video game came along, they ditched the Juli Adams line, started selling Rovio stuff instead, and cut it off altogether.” He adds that Rovio expanded into television and clothing, but was unable to sell stuffed animals because “Hartz had already registered this trademark for toys designed by Juli Adams.” Loeser claims his client may have been denied millions of dollars by the move.
The motion to dismiss filed by the toy maker states that “Hartz has no duty of exclusivity to (Adams) under the agreement. The company insists, “It doesn’t even mention the Angry Birds brand. “
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