Warzone.com, the developer of 2017 web-based strategy Warzone, has countersued Activision. Back in April 2021, the publisher filed a complaint with Los Angeles federal court seeking to dismiss the developer’s claims that Activision’s Call of Duty: Warzone infringes Warzone.com’s trademark rights. The developer’s recent filing with the US District Court for the Central District of California asks the court not to dismiss the case.
The dispute goes back to June, 2020, when Activision filed to register trademarks Warzone, and Call of Duty: Warzone with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Warzone.com opposed the publisher’s trademark application at the USPTO citing prior common law rights. Activision went on to initiate action seeking a declaration that would allow it to use the Warzone trademark.
According to Warzone.com’s recent filing, Activision would like the court to view this case as a “textbook example of trademark overreach,” claiming that the First Amendment gives it the right to use the Warzone trademark.
Warzone.com accuses Activision of trying to “usurp and trample over Warzone.com’s superior and senior trademark rights under the guise of free expression, while simultaneously seeking exclusive trademark rights for the very same word (Warzone) and goods and services (downloadable and online video games) that Warzone.com is seeking to enforce.”
Activision has also allegedly “buried search results to warzone.com,” which led to diverted customers and lost sales. This consumer confusion is further exacerbated by the disputing parties relying on the overlapping marketing channels.
And consumers are, indeed, confused, with Call of Duty: Warzone players sending bug reports and feature suggestions to Warzone.com. The developer is also concerned that this confusion will result in Warzone.com’s “negative association with a company currently facing multiple lawsuits” that accuse it of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, as well as purposefully misleading investors with false statements.
Finally, Warzone.com notes that it was Activision that started the legal action, while Warzone.com had been attempting to resolve the issue out of court.
The hearing on the case, which should have taken place on October 1, has been moved to December.