It’s been a tumultuous week for Epic Games, and it’s only getting stranger. The Fortnite developer is now being sued by Coral Castle, a rock garden that shares a name with a location in Fortnite’s latest season.
Referred to as “Florida’s Stonehenge,” the real-world Coral Castle is a museum that’s home to an elaborate rock garden in Miami.
Meanwhile, the digital Coral Castle appeared at the beginning of Fortnite’s aquatic-themed third season. The location serves as a stand-in for Atlantis in the game and features a large stone structure akin to the Miami tourist stop.
The similarities led the company that owns the destination, Coral Castle Inc., to sue Epic for infringing on its trademark. The complaint states that the use of the name, in addition to visual similarities, could lead to public confusion.
“The likelihood of confusion is only exacerbated by the fact that Fortnite: Battle Royale and the real Coral Castle share common marketing and advertising themes, such as castles and nautical elements. Specifically, due to these common themes, purchasers are more likely to believe that the ‘Coral Castle’ location in Fortnite: Battle Royale is authorized, approved, and/or sponsored by Plaintiff.”
Coral Castle Inc. is seeking damages for what it describes as “trademark infringement and unfair competition,” citing Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The news comes at a particularly weird time for Epic Games. The studio began a legal war with Apple after the company removed Fortnite from the App Store for sidelining Apple’s in-app payment system, which takes a 30% cut from purchases. Shortly thereafter, Fortnite was removed from the Google Play Store.
In response, Epic sued both Google and Apple for violating antitrust laws. The studio released a full campaign against the mobile giants, which includes a video parodying an old Apple ad inspired by George Orwell’s 1984.
Coral Castle’s lawsuit is small in the grand scheme of that current legal war, but the timing is undoubtedly inconvenient for Epic. Players who want to see what the fuss is all about can log into Fortnite (on anything other than an iPhone or Android device) and drop into Coral Castle in the top right corner of the game’s current map.
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