HARMLESS GAME GENIE


(This is an archived case summary.)

Nintendo applied for a preliminary injunction prohibiting the sale of Game Genies in Canada. Nintendo argued that Camerica was depreciating the goodwill of Nintendo trademarks by selling the Game Genie. This device allows players to insert codes prior to playing games on the Nintendo system, the effect of which is a change in the playability of the game. These changes increased or decreased the difficulty of the game by modifying a variety of the elements in Nintendo's games. This change was only temporary, and the code had to be entered each time the game was restarted.

Upon review of the application it was found that although there was a serious issue to be tried, Nintendo failed to show that it would be harmed irreparably if an injunction was not granted. It was noted that the Game Genie and Nintendo did not compete with each other, and in fact the Game Genie was of no use without a video game with which the device could interact. The Court held that the balance of irreparable harm was in favour of the Defendant.

The court dismissed the application for an injunction. This decision was upheld on appeal by the Federal Court of Appeal ((1991) 36 C.P.R. (3d) 352).

Nintendo of America, Inc. v. Camerica Corp.
January 28, 1991, Fed. Ct. of Canada (Trial Div.)
34 CPR (3d) 193
Keywords: injunction - Game Genie - goodwill - trademark
SUMMARY BY: Adam Nott.

 

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