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September 16, 2014

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UFC sues video game company over alleged trademark infringement

The Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Championship sued video game giant Ubisoft Inc. on Thursday, charging that packaging for a new street-fighter game infringes on and harms the trademarks of the UFC.

Attorneys for UFC owner Zuffa LLC charged in a trademark infringement lawsuit that the back cover of the new Ubisoft game “Fighters Uncaged” for the XBox 360 system says “Become the ULTIMATE FIGHTING weapon!”

Zuffa says this phrase is identical or confusingly similar to the UFC’s trademarked Ultimate Fighting name on packaging for Zuffa-licensed video games such as “Undisputed 2009,” “Undisputed 2010” and “Sudden Impact.”

“Defendant’s invitation for players to ‘charge head first into the vicious world of illegal fighting’ tarnishes the goodwill Zuffa has in its UFC marks. Zuffa has grown a successful mixed martial arts organization by moving away from the image of mixed martial arts as illegal street fighting, and taking it into the realm of a legitimate sport,” Zuffa said in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas. “This was no easy task and required years and much effort to reach today’s legitimacy and widespread acceptance.”

Thursday’s lawsuit seeks an injunction blocking Ubisoft from using UFC’s Ultimate Fighting trademarks, an order blocking further distribution of “Fighters Uncaged” until all references to UFC’s trademarks are removed from the packaging and unspecified damages and costs.

A request for comment was placed with Ubisoft.

San Francisco-based Ubisoft Inc. is part of the Ubisoft Entertainment group. Based in Montreuil-sous-Bois, France, Ubisoft is best known for games such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six (23 million units sold), Petz, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Rayman, Assassin’s Creed and Imagine.

Zuffa is represented in the lawsuit by attorneys Michael Feder, John Krieger and Franchesca Van Buren of the Las Vegas office of the law firm Lewis and Roca LLP.

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