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Atari Sues E-Commerce Site for Selling Goods With its Logo

A man playing mobile games on his cell phone.

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On Wednesday in the Southern District of New York, Atari Interactive, Inc., a video game company, filed a complaint against skinnyCorp., LLC, which owns the Threadless e-commerce website, for trademark infringement claiming that the defendant sells apparel which infringes Atari’s trade name and trademark.

According to the complaint, Atari is a “pioneer in the video game industry.” It creates and sells home video consoles, such as the Atari 2600, which reportedly set a new standard for function and design, and created a series of popular games, such as Pong, Breakout, and Asteroids. Atari asserted that it became known to consumers through its distinctive trade name and trademark, which includes a “distinctive A-shaped of ‘Fuji’ logo design.” Accordingly, Atari claimed that it has continued to “market, promote, license, and sell products” under this name and logo for more than forty years. 

The plaintiff contended that it is well-known in the video game industry and that it has grown into a multi-platform, global-interactive entertainment company by adapting many of its signature games for online platforms, like Facebook, or smartphones. Additionally, Atari asserted that it actively licenses its trade name, trademark, and logo to expand into other areas and merchandise. Atari said it is the owner of the ATARI trademarks as well as the PONG trademark used in connection with “‘printed matter, namely posters, stickers’ and ‘articles of clothing.’” Atari asserted that through its continued use of the marks, it has common law rights in these trademarks and trade dress, including “the Atari name and logo, the Pong mark, and the overall look and feel of the classic Atari 2600 game console and joystick.”

However, Atari averred that Threadless, “which solicits designs from visitors to print on a variety of apparel and other merchandise” knowingly infringed Atari’s trademark and intellectual property rights because it advertises, sells, and profits from counterfeit Atari products. According to Atari, “many of the counterfeit products incorporate exact replicas of the registered ATARI trademark (name and logo) on products in the classes for which the marks are registered.” Additionally, the plaintiff claimed that other counterfeit goods depict the identifiable Atari 2600 console and joystick. Atari’s allegations in relation to the PONG mark are similar. 

Consequently, Atari asserted that Threadless’ infringement was knowing and willful and that the defendant has thus profited from its unauthorized use of Atari’s marks. Furthermore, Atari averred that there is likely to be consumer confusion between the marks and goods. Atari proffered that it has been harmed because the Atari brand and marks have allegedly been cheapened and diluted, it has lost profits and licensing fees from the sale of the illegitimate Atari goods, and the defendant purportedly took advantage of the plaintiff’s goodwill. As a result, Atari asserted that the aforementioned conduct has caused it irreparable harm.

The claims for relief in the complaint included trademark infringement and counterfeiting, trademark dilution, false designation of origin, common law unfair competition, and counterfeiting. Atari sought an injunction, the destruction of all infringing products, an account of and award for all profits obtained from the infringement, and other damages and costs. 

Atari is represented by Browne George Ross O’Brien Annaguey & Ellis LLP.

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