Skip to main content

Judge sides with Activision in lawsuit against Humvees in Call of Duty games

District Judge George B. Daniels dismissed the lawsuit filed by AM General over Activision’s usage of the vehicle manufacturer’s Humvees in Call of Duty games, on the basis of realism in the portrayal of modern warfare.

In the lawsuit filed in 2017, AM General alleged that Call of Duty players were being “deceived into believing that AM General licenses the games or is somehow connected with or involved in the creation of the games.” The vehicle manufacturer complained that Activision did not have the license to use images of the Humvees in Call of Duty games.

The ruling by Daniels, which junks AM General’s lawsuit, takes into account several factors, including the “Rogers test” based on a 1989 case, which established that trademarks may be used in artistic works without facing liability. Humvees had “artistic relevance” in the Call of Duty games as they helped simulate modern warfare, Techspot reported.

Daniels also applied the “Polaroid test” based on a 1961 case to determine whether the Humvees in Call of Duty games resulted in “explicit misleading” that would lead people to buy the wrong thing. The ruling said that those looking to buy a Humvee will not be confused and buy a Call of Duty game instead, and vice versa.

“If realism is an artistic goal, then the presence in modern warfare games of vehicles employed by actual militaries undoubtedly furthers that goal,” according to Daniels. Even if there is some brand confusion, in this case with AM General’s connection with Call of Duty, that is not enough grounds to override video games’ protections under the First Amendment, according to Ars Technica.

Beyond Call of Duty

The ruling for AM General’s lawsuit against Activision may have more consequences beyond the Call of Duty series though. According to GTPlanet, developers making racing games could use the ruling so that they will not have to secure expensive licenses for registered trademarks.

Currently, studios and publishers need to negotiate with vehicle manufacturers, circuit owners, and racing teams to feature them in their games. With video games ruled as artistic works, GTPlanet said that licensing hurdles may be a thing of the past for racing games.

Editors' Recommendations

Aaron Mamiit
Aaron received a NES and a copy of Super Mario Bros. for Christmas when he was 4 years old, and he has been fascinated with…
The best Call of Duty games, ranked from worst to best
Characters shooting in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Few video game series are as influential and popular as Call of Duty. The annualized franchise throws players into fast-paced battles across various historical time periods -- along with fictional eras, as well. Call of Duty has taken us to World War II, the Cold War, a modern setting, and even to the future.

Although it's one of the most successful video game franchises out there, Call of Duty's quality varies significantly, with some fantastic entries in the series, but many mediocre ones as well. But which Call of Duty games are worth your time and which ones should you skip? To answer that question, we've ranked all the mainline entries in the series, with details about why you should or shouldn't play that particular game.

Read more
Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 Season 2 makes 5 excellent improvements
Character wielding swords on Ashika Island in Warzone 2.0.

The wait is finally over. Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0 Season 2 is here, and it comes with a lengthy list of changes, many of which are major improvements. Activision detailed a slew of patch notes for the all-new season, breaking down all the changes and fresh features. Warzone 2.0 has been in an odd spot lately, so it's heartening to see so many positive changes. While there's plenty to be excited about, which new features or changes are the most notable? Here are five of the most substantial additions to Warzone 2.0 Season 2.
Weapon balancing

Season 2 has introduced plenty of weapon changes in an attempt to balance and shake up the meta. While it's unclear how exactly that's shifted since the season is so new, one thing is certain: the top contenders from before are no longer overpowered. These include the Fennec 45 and the RPK, both of which were absurdly powerful previously, leaving most other weapons in the dust.

Read more
Modern Warfare 2’s new season is proof Call of Duty needs to take a year off
Main characters of Modern Warfare 2.

The eagerly anticipated second season of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has a lot in store. It'll incorporate a new small-scale Warzone 2.0 battle royale map called Ashika Island, along with new DMZ features and a fresh set of weapons to try out. While Season 2 certainly has lots of exciting new content in the pipeline, things are looking dire for Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, as very few new features are planned for the update.

Sure, it's nice that Warzone 2.0 and DMZ are getting so much attention during Season 2, but the latest update is a grim sign for the overall life cycle of Modern Warfare 2 -- a game that seems to have been left in the dust as Activision sprints on to its next project,
Modern Warfare 2 road map
So, what exactly is Modern Warfare 2 getting alongside Season 2? On paper, it seems like a sizeable amount. That is, until you break down what's in the works.

Read more