Video Game Law Blog

January 01, 1994

(This is an archived case summary)

Midway owned the copyright and related trade-marks for the video game “Mortal Kombat". PIL published a book entitled “Strategies for Mortal Kombat" which displayed screen shots from the game and instructed readers about fighting moves that could be used in the game. Midway alleged that PIL's book infringed its copyright and trade-marks. The action proceeded by way of summary judgment.

On the issue of copyright infringement, the court could not make a determination. The critical issue as to whether a substantial portion of Midway's copyrighted material was used in PIL's book was a factual issue not appropriate for summary judgment.
Similarly, the court could not decide the issue of infringement of the “Mortal Kombat" mark. The essential issue of the likelihood of consumer confusion was a factual issue and therefore also not appropriate for summary judgment. However, on the issue of trade-mark infringement of 'Midway", the court held that infringement had not occurred since the only use of the mark by PIL was in reference to Midway being the licensor of the game.

Midway Manufacturing Co. v. Publications International Ltd.
1994 US Dist. Ct., ND Ill.
1994 US Dist LEXIS 6264
Keywords: copyright – trademark
SUMMARY BY: Chris Metcalfe