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.
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.