Settlement reached in Seattle artist's 'Angry Birds' lawsuit

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 05, 2016 5:30 PM

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Seattle artist has settled her lawsuit against pet products maker Hartz Mountain Corp in which she claimed she was cheated out of millions of dollars from the sale of "Angry Birds" pet toys she designed, her attorney said on Tuesday.

A settlement notice filed in U.S. District Court in Washington state in December said all claims in the lawsuit had been resolved.

Artist Juli Adams sued New Jersey-based Hartz Mountain Corp in August 2014.

"Juli is very happy with the result," her attorney, Tony Shapiro, said. He declined to disclose the terms of the settlement, saying they were confidential.

According to court documents, Hartz said a company representative asked Adams in the summer of 2006 to design a line of plush pet toys, and Adams and the company reached a five-year licensing agreement in November of that year.

Adams said that Hartz violated that licensing agreement when it entered into a side deal with mobile games maker Rovio to begin selling a line of pet toys based on characters from the Finnish company's hugely popular "Angry Birds" video game that came out in 2009.

In her complaint, Adams said she designed the "Angry Birds" pet toy line, and at some point between December 2009 and November 2011 Hartz illegally used her intellectual property and "Angry Birds" trademark.

The company said it had ownership of the "Angry Birds" trademark and that the license covered Adams' drawings or illustrations of animals.

An attorney for Hartz declined to comment.

In December 2014, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik denied Hartz's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The settlement was reached a day after a jury trial had been scheduled to begin.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Alan Crosby and Leslie Adler)