UFC parent sues Ubisoft

Zuffa claims use of term "ultimate fighting" on Fighters Uncaged packaging violates trademark.

by

A month after it released Fighters Uncaged for the Xbox 360's Kinect motion-sensing system, Ubisoft has a legal tussle on its hands. Last week, Ultimate Fighting Championship parent company Zuffa LLC filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Nevada against the French publisher's US arm, based in California.

Fighters Uncaged has led to some lawyers being unleashed.

According to the suit, Zuffa is taking issue with Fighters Uncaged's packaging, which bears the term "ULTIMATE FIGHTING" in all capital letters on its back cover--a term that the company has trademarked. "[The] defendant's use of the ULTIMATE FIGHTING name and mark is identical or confusingly similar to the use of the UFC® marks, including the ULTIMATE FIGHTING® name and mark on Zuffa's licensed video games." THQ publishes the official UFC games and recently signed an exclusivity deal through 2018 with the company.

The suit continues, "By using the words ULTIMATE FIGHTING® and setting them all apart in capital letters, [the] Defendant is creating or attempting to create an association between its product, 'Fighters Uncaged' and the UFC®. By using the ULTIMATE FIGHTING® name and mark on its video game, [the] Defendant is attempting to trade on the goodwill of the UFC®."

Furthermore, Zuffa has taken umbrage to Fighters Uncaged's setting, which is the world of illegal street fighting. In its complaint, Zuffa lays out its years-long effort to make mixed martial arts a respected sport. It points out that when the company took over the UFC brand in 2001, MMA was banned in most states, but it's now sanctioned in 44 of the 50 states in the union.

Zuffa believes that it has suffered "monetary damages" and "irreparable injury to its business, reputation, and goodwill" as a result of Ubisoft's use of the term "ultimate fighting" on Fighters Uncaged's packaging. The company wants the publisher to be prevented from further using the term "ultimate fighting" and wants all packaging that uses the term to be destroyed. Zuffa is also seeking all profits Ubisoft may have made from the game, as well as attorney's fees, exemplary damages, compensatory damages, and triple the normal damages for trademark violation.

As of press time, Ubisoft had not commented on the complaint. For more on Fighters Uncaged, read GameSpot's full review of the game.

Discussion

315 comments
ebookerd1
ebookerd1

Seems sad that you sue someone for a game that sucks!!

TwistyMcFisty
TwistyMcFisty

Dont mess with Zuffa. I downloaded a UFC fight from a torrent (a month after it aired) and I got an email from Zuffa saying that if it was not removed from my computer immediately they were gonna sue me.

starduke
starduke

According to the UFC people are stupid.

Djmaster214
Djmaster214

disgusting. idk whyi feel dana white is to blame for this and i hope he gets hit by a car.

badman11226
badman11226

Man Iuv this country USA USA USA Land of the Suing. *ouch* Goddammit. Im going to sue gamestop because typing here just gave me Carpal Tunnel syndrome.

Frosty192
Frosty192

omg go freaking cry its 2 words that they didnt make and is pretty much telling them no one can use words. i hate this country because of people like this live in it.

punisher41542o
punisher41542o

all profits earned? lol ok ufc heres your $3.50, cash or check?

caossbr
caossbr

so...no matter how good a FIGHTING game can be...never put the word ULTIMATE before. lol...they just love some sue money.

dreddust
dreddust

Dude everyones trying to get money any way they can so no i cant pump some one up on a video game back not front but back ans say ULTIMATE FIGHTING wow copyright crazy i think much

Vengeful_Angel
Vengeful_Angel

Me am confused! Me can't tell difference from UFC to Fighters Uncaged! Graaagh!

tag3
tag3

Ubisoft didn't do its homework. The UFC doesn't play around and has been suing people over this stuff for years. They even claim copyright on a shape!

Savior24
Savior24

Since when have you seen a game in the case facing the wrong way; having the back being displayed as the front? So Zuffa is claiming that units have been sold so that people can't make an accurate judgement to differentiate the two properties? What a JOKE!!!! I know there are a lot if stupid people out there, but I can't imagine that there are enough out there who think that this is an actual UFC game, to where they have lost any profits what-so-ever!!!! "STOP" picking on the little guy!!!!

mkdoomfan2
mkdoomfan2

huh...go figure that UFC fights are closed in... almost as if they are caged in.

RPG_Fan_I_Am
RPG_Fan_I_Am

The only way I can see this making sense is the fact that the game is so bad, that when people buy the game, they would see ultimate fighter, and think UFC, then when the get disappointed with the game, they would relate that disappointment back at UFC. But thats assuming the game sucks, and since I haven't played it I have no idea.

Flint247
Flint247

*says "Ultimate Fighting" out loud* o.o Uh-oh *runs*

Arab-man666
Arab-man666

Oh no! Now Ubisoft will have to pay Zuffa 35% of the $243.67 it made off of this game! D:

JOKER677
JOKER677

its a general term i hope they dont win gArbagE

ShroudedEagle
ShroudedEagle

"Zuffa believes that it has suffered "monetary damages" and "irreparable injury to its business, reputation, and goodwill" as a result of Ubisoft's use of the term "ultimate fighting" on Fighters Uncaged's packaging." - Wow, exaggeration much?

Zepherite
Zepherite

I'm pretty sure they'll struggle to sue. In general the more out of context the phrase or word is, the easier it is to protect. This is to stop people from trademarking the word banana and then going round suing every company that even mentions a banana. 'Microsoft' is a made up word, so it can be protected in all instances and 'Apple' is a commonly used word but not in the context of computers, so it can be protected when used to name electronic devices. I'd imagine though that the words 'ultimate' and 'fighting' get used all the time to describe anything to do with fighting (suprise!) so whoever said it'll be an uphill struggle hit the nail on the head. That's why they've had to be quite specific pointing out how it's written all in caps.

jmartinez1983
jmartinez1983

Also, I believe Ultimate Fighting constitutes a generic turn, or at most its merely descriptive, meaning that (based on my limited exposure to trademark law) that Zuffa will have to prove that the words "Ultimate Fighting" have taken on a secondary meaning, which means that people associate those words with UFC more than as just a general description of something. Its an uphill battle I think.

jmartinez1983
jmartinez1983

There are two funny things that come out of this: (1) I am now aware that the words "Ultimate Fighting" appear on the back of Fighters Uncaged. (2) I now have a more negative view of Ultimate Fighting Championship, not because its now somehow remotely been tied to Fighters Uncaged, but because they were stupid enough to draw attention to a terrible game that had no effect at all on their brand name. Excuse me, I now need to file a lawsuit against entertainment companies that have ever used my real name on a character that is unrelated to me and show that name in a negative light.

Tennies07
Tennies07

I was unaware Zuffa was turning into EA. Christ it seems like all the big companies are compelled to sue and screw people over on every little thing now. And Lee I hear you loud and clear all this copyright garbage is absurd.

cubachino
cubachino

And I thought the UFC was about tough guys! Man up! The words aren't even on the front cover. The ULTIMATE thing selling that game is the Kinect. So stop the FIGHTING. Oops I hope I didn't infringe on their trademark.

lee1823
lee1823

jesus... jacks...whatever.... does your dad own UFC? glad you read up on copyright law.... just for this article. how could facebook copyright the word 'face'... the word is 'facebook'... not face. maybe they will copyright the word 'book' too. Amazon will have to start selling socks or something instead. To be honest.... all this talk of UFC is making me want a KFC..... maybe they sue? it's nearly there? im enjoying this!!!!!

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Seiki_sands
Seiki_sands

I could see if it were the title or a subtitle on the front cover, but having the line "become the ULTIMATE FIGHTING weapon" on the back is way too much of a stretch for me when seen in context. I don't see how any reasonable person, seeing Fighters Uncaged and it's packaging could come to the conclusion that the product is connected to the UFC. The context of the line, the images under it of fully clothed street fighting and an everyday joe kind of guy boxing with Kinect, an emphasis on illegal fighting, none of it feels AT ALL like a UFC product. By the way, the UFC has trademarked other common words as well, even the word "submission".

JacksSmrkngRvng
JacksSmrkngRvng

MiniSt you just proved YOU are the ignorant one. Reread my post where it CLEARLY states they own the term "octagon" and the cage shape as it pertains to its use in MIXED MARTIAL ARTS not math books...jeez. Copyright and TM law is VERY specific in their uses. Just like Facebook is trying to TM the word "face" as it pertains to social media not how it can be used to sell cosmetics.

MiniST
MiniST

Wow, guess you are one of the people that take the internet very seriously. Your original comment was that UFC owned the world "octagon", they do not. Use the right terms before you type things out. If they own the word, every geometry book in the US would have to be rescinded. I'm not saying that they don't have the right to sue people, just that they won't be successful. Nintendo can call their next system Nintendo Apple, and Apple can sue over it. But if Nintendo wants to carry on the lawsuit, they can drag the lawsuit for years on end without an conclusion because there is no clear cut case in this situation. They can bring up any reason they want to justify why the called it Nintendo Apple. You talk about the legal facet of law, but you have no idea on the inner workings. And yes I know Google is a search engine and they fact you telling me to use a search engine to widen my understand is wrong to so many levels.

Scottagis
Scottagis

Zuffa would be doing Ubisoft a favor by having all the packaging, and games destroyed, lol.

JacksSmrkngRvng
JacksSmrkngRvng

Hahaha, geez, you are aware that Google is a search engine right? Its not wikipedia where anybody can post any nonsense. You truly do not understand copyright law or refuse to take the time to do some research because you will see you are incorrect. Facebook is trademarking it for the use in social media, if they are granted the TM for that specific use then they most certainly have legal grounds to pursue litigation. Similar to how Apple, which I think we can agree is a very common word, has that word trademarked in computers, and whatever else they have written in their TM papers. It prevents other companies from using the word to create brand confusion. See what would happen if Nintendo decided to call their next game system the Nintendo Apple. Are you telling me that Apple Inc wouldnt have justification for a suit since it would create the illusion of a working partnership between Nintendo and Apple possibly creating brand confusion amongst consumers.

MiniST
MiniST

wow, can't believe u actually believe everything on Google and you use Google as an source... sigh... yes, you can trademark anything you want, the patent office doesn't really care, but when a violation comes up, you will have nothing to go on in court, because all they have to say is that the word is too commonly used for the trademark to stand. Like I said, go learn something from an LEGITIMATE sources before you comment. I'm not crying to you, just pointing our how ignorant you are.

JacksSmrkngRvng
JacksSmrkngRvng

LOL, really use GOOGLE, theres a bunch of articles on Facebooks proceedings to trademark the word "face" for social media purposes, which they are very close to doing. Dont argue with me, argue with the trademark office of the United States that is allowing them to proceed. You cry to me like I make the laws. You tell me to go learn something....ironic since your rant proves obviously havent bothered to do a simple google search.

MiniST
MiniST

jacksSmrkngRvng, it is not their word. They can put a TM over the word, but it is total bs. I can put a TM over a word if i like. Unless someone actually cares that it's violating something, no one is gonna do something about it. If a litigation comes up against them about this, it will go away so fast, your head will spin. Go learn something before you comment please.

JacksSmrkngRvng
JacksSmrkngRvng

MiniST, Google is your friend, I suggest you use it before you embarrass yourself further. Thanks.

MiniST
MiniST

@JacksSmrkngRvng bs, u can't own a word unless u made it up and its unique, even then it's not absolute.

JacksSmrkngRvng
JacksSmrkngRvng

lee, if the possibility to create confusion amongst consumers is there then there is a basis for a copyright case. Just like you cannot open a fast food rest. and call it McDonalds and Sons. Clearly not McDonalds but the chance for consumer confusion exists and they have the right to defend their brand. Had UBI NOT capitalized the words ULTIMATE FIGHTING when all the rest are lower case then I can guarantee you that Zuffa would not have filed suit. A parent goes to buy a Kinect game for their kid and reads the product description sees a bunch of words then ULTIMATE FIGHTING jumps out, then the good chance exists that a parent purchases that based on thinking their may be a tie in to the UFC. Again, its an issue of creating brand confusion for the consumer. Read up on copyright law. Facebook is actually one single step away from trademarking the word "face" as it pertains to social media.

lee1823
lee1823

okay... so the words 'ultimate fighting' have been used - as part of the sentence 'become the ultimate fighting weapon' which is stated on the back of the box art. It doesnt say 'ultimate fighting championship', nor does it say 'UFC' or 'Ultimate Fighting' on it's own... even the font used is totally different. How can you copyright two words used as part of the English language and sue just because someone with a product has stuck the two words next to each other in a sentence? Octagon is also part of the English language. UFC may have copyright on octagon shaped rings, but how can you copyright the word? UFC didnt develop these words? I could totally understand if the link between this game and UFC was an obvious rip-off... but it's not. The context may be the same, in that it's related to fighting, but thats it? How many other games have used the words ultimate and fighting i wonder?

JacksSmrkngRvng
JacksSmrkngRvng

Little known fact is that Zuffa and the UFC actually own the word "octagon" and the use of an octagon shaped cage as it is related to mixed martial arts. Anyone else uses it or promotes their fights in an octagon will get sued also.

JacksSmrkngRvng
JacksSmrkngRvng

This is essentially serving as a deterrent to future publishers. Had Zuffa not done this then that creates the illusion that they dont care about protecting their brand. Suppose EA MMA 2 comes out and on the back it says, create your favorite ULTIMATE FIGHTING superstar? Would that be OK? No.... The fact that UFCs logo is ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP is capital letters and the game art purposely capitalizes just those two words I can see parents or very casual gamers getting confused by it. That coupled with the fact that this game deals in essentially no rules street fighting, an image that Zuffa has spent millions of dollars to try and persuade the general public that UFC is NOT, I can see UBI backing down. Its not as if this game is going to sell enough copies to justify the cost of defending their lawsuit.

darksidecelica
darksidecelica

Why does everyone think the lawsuit is not justified? Zuffa owns the rights to those combination of words. (Look at the back of UFC Undisputed 09 and 10) Copyright infringement is copyright infringement no matter how you look at it. And for everyone saying "Hey Im saying Ultimate Fighting! Sue me!", they wouldnt waste time on you because you're not making any substantial profit from it. And to people saying "ultimate" is written in all kinds of games, well Zuffa doesnt have the copyrights to "ultimate" If i read correctly no one can own a copyright to a single word in the dictionary, otherwise everyone would get sued left and right..i think its either combinations or words not normally in the dictionary like Fushigi

lee1823
lee1823

How the hell can you copyright 2 totally normal words and go on to sue?. I can kind of understand if it's a blatant rip off using the same font etc (can anyone confirm? does anyone own this game?!?! ha!). I just checked the box art on the net and it states on the back 'become the ULTIMATE FIGHTING weapon'. It bares no resemblance to UFC or it's logo whatsoever. As bad as your game is UBI... tell em to feck off........ then make beyond good and evil 2 already with the money you saved.

oneligas
oneligas

law suits for thinking about copy righted material is the next step. example having a dream were bugs bunny and mickey mouse are fist fighting will cost you a cool twelve million US american dollars.

tapout03
tapout03

are they going to sue t-shirt companies too then

TJamesA
TJamesA

What idiot let this game go to production with ULTIMATE FIGHTING in fat caps on the package, lol. @leeko_link: The lawsuit is justifiable, UFC should take action to make sure another company doesn't try to do the same thing. I'm sure it's not all about the money, the UFC is already uber rich. They also may want to protect their company and name, and image. They don't want ULTIMATE FIGHTING to be associated with unlawful street brawls more than anything I'm sure. Think about things more deeply before posting bro.

Delston
Delston

sort of a "kick'em when they're down" I'd say. From what I understand, the game is complete rubbish...Ubisoft should be ashamed.

tapout03
tapout03

what exfighters are in fighters uncaged