An artist who designed "Angry Birds" themed pet toys filed a lawsuit in August 2014 claiming that pet toymaker Hartz Mountain Corp owed her millions of dollars. According to a statement by artist Juli Adams' attorney on Tuesday, the case was officially settled out of court.
The settlement notice was first submitted in federal court in Washington state last month. The notice stated that all matters had been resolved.
Attorney Tony Shapiro, who represented the artist, said in a public statement, "Juli is very happy with the result."
The terms of the settlement are confidential. However, we do have some details about the case from court records.
Angry Birds of a Different Feather
According to Hartz Mountain Corp, one of its corporate representatives requested that artist Juli Adams create some plush toys for pets in 2006. The artist and the company drew up a licensing agreement that would last for five years, and she created the "Angry Birds" line. This line of pet toys is allegedly different from the popular cellphone video game, "Angry Birds," released by Finnish video game company Rovio in 2009; however, the similarities between Adams' "Angry Birds" and Rovio's "Angry Birds" are somewhat striking.
Later, after the widespread popularity of the Rovio video game, toymaker Hartz created a licensing contract on the side with Rovio in order to sell pet toys modeled more closely after the video gamemaker's toys.
Adams Said Her Intellectual Property Rights Were Violated
In the complaint, Adams alleged that Hartz was violating her intellectual property rights because she was the designer of Hartz "Angry Birds" toys. Hartz disagreed and initially moved to dismiss the case, but a judge denied the motion in December 2014. The parties settled the matter just as a jury trial was set to begin.
In the eyes of the law, a struggling artist and a large corporation are equal when it comes to intellectual property lawsuits. It all boils down to the terms of the licensing contract, whether the contract was lawful, and whether the parties adhered to it. If one of the parties' actions fell outside the terms, and it caused the other party to lose money, then a valid claim for damages can be made.
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