AM General, the manufacturer responsible for the Humvee, has filed a lawsuit against Activision for violating its trademark by repeatedly including the vehicle in the Call of Duty series.
Starting with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the Humvee has since appeared in seven Call of Duty titles (or eight, if you count Modern Warfare Remastered). Unfortunately, Activision has never received permission from AM General to utilize the vehicle’s trademark in a game.
AM General does seem to have a strong case in terms of trademark violation, as it cites several instances within the series during which the Humvee trademark is featured. However, the manufacturer seems to be overplaying its hand a little bit within the lawsuit’s language.
At one point, the lawsuit states that not only is the Humvee “a key selling feature of the [Call of Duty] games,” but that the Call of Duty series’s success came “only at the expense of AM General and consumers who are deceived into believing that AM General licenses the games or is somehow connected with or involved in the creation of the games.” Yes, all of those Humvee fanboys are playing the most lucrative first-person shooter series of all time, in which they don’t even drive the vehicles, only because they love Humvee so very much.
AM General and Activision have been trying to come to an agreement over this issue for a year, but now it seems to have reached a tipping point, and the Humvee manufacturer is seeking compensatory, punitive, and triple damages from its lawsuit.
Activision has yet to publicly comment on the matter. Fortunately, Call of Duty: WWII seems to be selling well, so hopefully they’ll have some leftover cash following the lawsuit.