AM General, the makers of Humvee, are suing Activision. The lawsuit has spawned after the company claims that Activision has been using the Humvee and HMMWV as a selling point for the Call of Duty franchise. Cue the litigation and what's bound to be months of back and finger-pointing until the court makes a decision.
Game Informer is reporting that AM General is claiming that Activision has been using the company's vehicles on "goodwill and reputation" within the Call of Duty franchise, for the game's related branding and toys, and for other related content.
The key issue here is that AM General is alleging that the Humvee and HMMWV have been used as key selling points for the Call of Duty franchise and that after months of attempting to negotiate with Activision, a deal was not reached.
At this point, AM General wants to drag this out in court and attempt to receive compensation for punitive and triple damages from Activision.
The interesting part is that Game Informer spoke with intellectual property litigator, Nathan Sabri from Morrison & Foerster, about the case and managed to get his take. According to the lawyer, if the Humvee likeness has only been used as background props in Call of Duty games then AM General won't have much of a case. If, however, AM General can prove that Activision has used the likeness in a misleading way within Call of Duty to make people think that the vehicles are officially licensed or sponsored, then AM General might have a case.
Most gamers in the comment section are not at all pleased with the news and have readily (if not reluctantly) come down on the side of Activision. This isn't just blind loyalty to the company but rather the more obvious position that Activision's series of Call of Duty games don't regularly feature Humvees, save for the Modern Warfare trilogy, of which they were three games.
Keep in mind that Call of Duty has been going strong for almost 15 years. It's extremely difficult to see how AM General would attempt win favor by ignoring all the other games in the series to focus solely on the Modern Warfare games as an indication that Activision was using AM Generals' vehicles to depict them as sponsored content.
If AM General had directed its attention to EA and DICE, then I think there would be a much better case, especially with how focused the Battlefield series is on vehicular usage. However, you don't even get to operate vehicles often in the Call of Duty games, save for brief gunnery segments here or there.
Of course, given that Call of Duty is a billion-dollar franchise, it's no surprise a lot of people would want to get a piece of the financial pie. Activision has been sued multiple times in the past by others wanting some sort of compensation for either being featured in the game or being related to someone featured in the game.