In a new lawsuit, Electronic Arts (NSDQ: ERTS) says free speech rights permit it to use brand name helicopters in the hit gameBattlefield 3. The case is part of a trend in which video game makers are pushing the bounds of trademark law to make their games more realistic.
In its latest claim, EA is asking a California court to declare that its use of Bell helicopters is a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment. It claims the helicopters help depict realistic combat in Battlefield 3, a game set in 2014 in which players can command US soldiers in Paris, New York and Tehran to stop an impending nuclear attack.
EA filed the lawsuit after aviation company Textron Inc warned that it would take legal action over trademarks for the AH-1Z, UH-1Y and V-22 Bell helicopters.
The case follows a similar suit last year in which an Indiana company sued EA for using the word “Derringer” to describe Tommy Guns in its Godfather video game franchise. A court sided with EA, and ruled that artistic expression trumped the company’s trademark rights…
The video game cases show how rights of creative expression have recently been trumping intellectual property rights which, in other industries, seem to be constantly expanding.