By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The maker of Humvee military vehicles filed a lawsuit accusing Activision Blizzard Inc of reaping billions of dollars of revenue by incorporating its trademarks without permission in its flagship "Call of Duty" video game franchise.
In a complaint filed on Tuesday night in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, AM General LLC accused Activision of taking advantage of its goodwill and reputation in the "Humvee" and "HMMWV" marks by featuring them prominently in "Call of Duty," and licensing related content for use in toys and books.
"Humvee" and "HMMWV" are short for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. AM General said it has made more than 278,000 Humvees.
Activision did not immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment.
Launched in 2003, "Call of Duty" in 2016 was the world's largest game console franchise, and North America's largest for the eighth straight year, Activision has said.
Activision, based in Santa Monica, California, said "Call of Duty" sales by last year had topped 250 million units, with revenue exceeding $15 billion.
But AM General said that success came "only at the expense of AM General and consumers who are deceived into believing that AM General licenses the games or is somehow connected with or involved in the creation of the games."
AM General is owned by MacAndrews & Forbes Inc and Renco Group Inc, which are holding companies for billionaires Ronald Perelman and Ira Rennert, respectively.
The South Bend, Indiana-based company said it wants compensatory, punitive and triple damages from Activision, after more than a year of communications failed to end the dispute.
Humvee-branded vehicles have been used for more than three decades by the U.S. military and in more than 50 countries, AM General said.
In recent months, they have been used in armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to provide relief to victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
AM General has also produced the civilian Hummer vehicle.
The case is AM General LLC v Activision Blizzard Inc et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-08644.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New YorkEditing by Jonathan Oatis)