Humvee maker AM General sues Activision over 'Call of Duty' video game series

An image from one of the “Call of Duty” video games depicts a convoy of Humvees. Photo credit:

NEW YORK — The maker of Humvee military vehicles filed a lawsuit accusing Activision Blizzard Inc. of reaping billions of dollars of revenue by incorporating its trademarks without permission in its flagship “Call of Duty” video game franchise.

In a complaint filed Tuesday night in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, AM General accused Activision of taking advantage of its goodwill and reputation in the “Humvee” and “HMMWV” marks by featuring them prominently in “Call of Duty,” and licensing related content for use in toys and books.

“Humvee” and “HMMWV” are short for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. AM General said it has made more than 278,000 Humvees.

Mary Osako, a spokeswoman for Activision, said on Wednesday that the company does not discuss pending litigation.

Launched in 2003, “Call of Duty” in 2016 was the world’s largest game console franchise, and North America’s largest for the eighth straight year, Activision has said.

Activision of Santa Monica, Calif., said “Call of Duty” sales by last year had topped 250 million units, with revenue exceeding $15 billion.

But AM General said that success came “only at the expense of AM General and consumers who are deceived into believing that AM General licenses the games or is somehow connected with or involved in the creation of the games.”



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