'Angry Birds' Maker Sues Key Biscayne Company, Claiming Copyright Infringement

, Daily Business Review


Angry Birds

Those Angry Birds are now mad at something else besides those nefarious pigs.

Rovio Inc., the developer of the popular video game franchise from Finland, filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against a South Florida company it claims infringes upon its enraged characters.

Rovio's suit filed Oct. 8 in Miami claims the logo of Key Biscayne golf equipment maker Angry Club LLC is far too similar to the iconic birds.

"The similarities between the Angry Club name and Rovio's Angry Birds branding goes beyond the marks themselves," said the lawsuit filed by Rovio attorney Kevin K. Ross, a partner at K&L Gates in Miami. "Angry Club uses a stylized version of the Angry Club name, which includes a red A with eyes and furrowed eyebrows to have that iconic 'angry' look that is the hallmark of Rovio's Angry Birds."

Roxio's game where a player catapults birds at structures made by snarky bovines is spawned numerous versions related products including board games and stuffed animals. More than 12 million copies of the game have been purchased from Apple Inc.

The lawsuit includes a copy of a golf club cover resembling the iconic red bird from the game as well as golf balls with Angry Bird characters on them.

Patrick Simpson-Jones, owner of Angry Club, said Tuesday that he plans to fight the lawsuit, which he called ridiculous.

"It's Goliath trying to get in the way of anybody who goes near it," he said.

The year-old company took the Angry Club name because its signature golf-swing training club is supposed to take the anger out of the frustrated golfer, Simpson-Jones said. A recorded message on the club tell the duffer to calm down. The company's putter grip tells golfers to loosen their grip, and its ball retriever tells golf jokes.

"My objective is to get kids to go outside and play golf, not interact with a little machine," Simpson-Jones said.

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