It is not uncommon for video game developers when it comes to facing lawsuits for alleged trademark infringements or use of controversial content. Examples include actors suing them for portraying in-game characters based on their likeness, organizations suing them for using similar logos or names for in-game companies as part of a game’s narrative, in addition to other lawsuits which demand a ban on violent or sexual in-game content. The latest inclusion to the never-ending list of lawsuits now involves Fortnite makers Epic Games. You might assume that this is about Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple and Google over removing Fortnite from their respective stores. You would be surprised to know that this new lawsuit we’re discussing actually places Epic on the receiving side. A Florida based corporation named Coral Castle Inc. is suing Epic Games over the latest Fortnite update which introduced an in-game location named after Coral Castle itself.
About Coral Castle
Coral Castle Inc. is a corporation that runs a tourist attraction named Coral Castle, in Miami-Dade County, Florida. This tourist attraction was created by Edward Leedskalnin, who began working on it from the 1920s, till his death in 1951. Coral Castle consists of several monolithic structures made of limestone. It is also referred to as “Florida’s Stonehenge”. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this spot attracts numerous tourists every year.
Coral Castle’s lawsuit against Epic Games
On June 17 2020, globally acclaimed video game Fortnite: Battle Royale rolled out an update introducing a new season in the game. This Chapter 2 Season 3 update brought about numerous changes to the game, including new locations in the map. On August 1, Epic Games added a new location named Coral Castle to Fortnite: Battle Royale. This in-game location is a beach area with several stone structures as well as castles. This new addition provoked Coral Castle Inc to file a lawsuit against Epic Games for trademark infringement, unfair competition, among other charges. The lawsuit was filed at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division. The lawsuit claims that the addition of Coral Castle as a location in Fortnite: Battle Royale is a violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, as well as five other laws.
As written in the official court document for this lawsuit, this new location “shares common themes with the real Coral Castle.” It includes “nautical/beach motifs, castle structures, partial castle walls and stone objects”, which “evoke the feeling of centuries-old mysterious place”. The tourist attraction company has been using these same features for their own marketing for years. Coral Castle Inc’s lawsuit demands monetary compensation from Epic Games in damages as well as withdrawal/dismissal of any such materials which is a trademark of the former, which in this case is Coral Castle location in Fortnite: Battle Royale.
Fortnite: Battle Royale has previously featured famous locations from pop culture such as HBO’s Westworld and DC Comic’s Gotham City. However, the addition of real-life Coral Castle did not sit well with the corporation that owns the tourist attraction. Amidst the ongoing legal battle with Apple and Google, it looks like Epic Games has another company to fight against in the court.
What’s your opinion on Coral Castle Inc. suing Epic Games? Let us know in the comment section below!