Victory for grizzled guys in beards on rocket assault motorcycles! Patent Arcade posted that the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has ruled that Activision Blizzard’s use of the term “Delta Force” in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 does not infringe on the trademark that NovaLogic claims to hold from their series of games starting with 1998′s Delta Force. Judge Walter ruled that Activision’s use of the name was protected as free speech and would not harm NovaLogic’s brand.
“Because the phrase ‘Delta Force’ and its insignia have an established and well-known prior meaning and connotation…that is unrelated to plaintiff and that meaning and connotation predate plaintiff’s use of the registered trademarks, it is highly unlikely that consumers will be misled.”
NovaLogic had also argued that Activision waived their free speech rights because Vivendi Games had paid royalties to NovaLogic for the Delta Force name in 2005, before they were acquired by Activision. The court did not accept this argument because Activision was not directly involved in the agreement.