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Thread: Atari Sues Target Over "Foot Pong" in Target's Stores

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    Default Atari Sues Target Over "Foot Pong" in Target's Stores

    Atari Sues Target Over Pong
    Posted Dec. 31, 2018, 4:54 PM
    Video game maker accuses retailer of copyright, trademark infringement
    “Foot Pong” game allegedly drew customers to dozens of stores
    Target Corp. copied Atari Interactive Inc.'s iconic video game Pong, according to a new lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

    Target allegedly installed an “imitation video game” called Foot Pong in dozens of stores nationwide. The game is “virtually identical in overall look and feel” to the original video game, except that the game board is projected onto the floor, and players control their game paddles using their feet, Atari said in its complaint.

    The game attracts customers to Target stores and keeps them there longer, and builds goodwill and positive word-of-mouth for the retailer, Atari claimed. Yet Target clearly knew it was infringing on Atari’s intellectual property rights, as it sells officially licensed merchandise with the Pong trademark, and refused Atari’s cease and desist demand, the video game company said.

    Atari is suing for trademark infringement, copyright infringement, counterfeiting, false designation of origin, trademark and trade dress dilution, and common law unfair competition. It’s asking the court to block Target’s use of this game without an express licensing agreement, for all the profits earned by Target from its allegedly infringing acts, and for statutory damages of at least $150,000 per registered copyright and at least $2 million per registered trademark.

    Target did not immediately respond to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.

    The case is Atari Interactive Inc v. Target Corp., C.D. Cal., No. 18-10735, filed 12/28/18.
    The Foot Pong game can be played by one player or two players.

    Source: https://news.bloomberglaw.com/ip-law...rget-over-pong


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    Great Puma (Level 12) jb143's Avatar
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    Maybe they're hoping Target will settle out of court... like that time that Magnavox sued Atari for copying Pong.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    My prediction: the gaming community will overwhelmingly side with Target and I will be the only person here to side with Atari

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    Great Puma (Level 12) jb143's Avatar
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    The only thing they maybe have them on is using the name "Pong"... maybe. Probably not. It was nearly 50 years ago now that Atari admittedly copied the game from the Odyssey. Magnavox sued, Atari settled.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    The only thing they maybe have them on is using the name "Pong"... maybe. Probably not. It was nearly 50 years ago now that Atari admittedly copied the game from the Odyssey. Magnavox sued, Atari settled.
    So Magnavox owns the rights to Pong

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    I have no idea who owns the rights to any of Magnavox properties currently.

    But read the history of Pong...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pong

    then watch gameplay footage of the Odyssey's Table Tennis game...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfmL6l128JU

    and then tell me you don't see the irony in Atari suing over this.


    Now, on the other hand, if Target said "Come play Atari's pong Pong PONG!!!! ATARI PONG!!!! ON THE FLOOR!!!" then Atari might have a case.
    "Game programmers are generally lazy individuals. That's right. It's true. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Since the dawn of computer games, game programmers have looked for shortcuts to coolness." Kurt Arnlund - Game programmer for Activision, Accolade...

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    Strawberry (Level 2) AdamAnt316's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    So Magnavox owns the rights to Pong
    Magnavox owned the rights to use Ralph Baer's patents regarding the concept of the home video game in general. The patents themselves were owned by Sanders Associates, the company which Ralph worked for. Several companies, including Atari and Nintendo, challenged these patents in court, but Ralph and Sanders won every lawsuit (though Ralph didn't see much of the proceeds, which he's said to have not cared too much about, apparently). More info about these patents can be found here.

    I can only wonder what Ralph would've thought about this lawsuit; probably a bit of amusement. As others have said, Atari (well, the company using that name nowadays, anyway) might own the rights to the name "Pong", but the concept itself has never been theirs to own, they were just a licensee of Baer's patents. I hope Target wins the lawsuit, or at least is allowed to continue using the 'Foot Pong' concept, perhaps after a name change. I once set up my Magnavox Odyssey 300 (I didn't yet own an my original Odyssey at the time) at an antique radio show where Ralph was giving a talk, and I saw a number of young kids playing it. When I mentioned this to Ralph, he replied, "A game is a game."
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    So is the game "Beer Pong" so far removed from the actual Atari pong that they don't go after companies that manufacture Beer Pong accessories? ya know like the type of stuff you'd find at spencer gifts or some kind of novelty shop. Or are they just not big enough fish to worry about going after? Surely some of those accessories don't have the actual name beer pong on them, but I'm sure a lot of them do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    The only thing they maybe have them on is using the name "Pong"... maybe. Probably not. It was nearly 50 years ago now that Atari admittedly copied the game from the Odyssey. Magnavox sued, Atari settled.
    It's not like Atari created the name anyway, it was taken from Ping Pong. It's like if Nintendo somehow claimed to own the specific name Kong when King Kong existed first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    It's not like Atari created the name anyway, it was taken from Ping Pong. It's like if Nintendo somehow claimed to own the specific name Kong when King Kong existed first.
    Nintendo can most likely be said to own the name "Donkey Kong" when it comes to video games, and it's possible that Atari (or, again, the company which calls itself that nowadays) owns the rights to the name "Pong" in the same fashion. With regards to the whole Donkey Kong/King Kong thing, there actually was a lawsuit fought over that similarity. Nintendo ended up winning it because, in an earlier lawsuit, Universal Studios (who produced the 1976 remake of the original 1933 King Kong film) had successfully argued that the story used for the original movie was technically in the public domain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jb143 View Post
    The only thing they maybe have them on is using the name "Pong"... maybe.
    That's how I see it. That was Target's only real mistake here. There would probably be no case if it were called "Foot Ping-Pong". Though "ping-pong" is trademarked too. Maybe then they'd have Parker Brothers going after them.

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