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Gen. Patton Not Fair Use, Licensing Group Says

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Imitation is not necessarily the sincerest form of flattery, at least as far as the group that holds the licensing rights to legendary WWII general George S. Patton is concerned.

The group, CMG Worldwide of Indiana, sued videogame maker Maximum Family Games in San Francisco federal court Thursday. CMG claims that Maximum used Patton's name, likeness, image and persona in the game "HISTORY Legends of War: Patton" without its permission.

CMG says it nabbed the rights to Patton through "various agreements with the Patton family," and is "charged with the exclusive responsibility and authority with respect to enforcing General Patton's intellectual property rights."

Maximum released its Patton videogame in 2012. In addition to Maximum explicitly using the name "Patton" in the title, CMG says the game's cover features a solider standing between two tanks - albeit in silhouette - and notes that Patton led the U.S. Army's first armored vehicle attack.

The back cover features a quote by Patton and promises players that they can "assume the role" of the great general through a variety of historical conflicts.

"Maximum's use of General Patton's name, image and likeness in connection with advertising and selling the infringing videogame was and is intended to deceive consumers and to cause consumer confusion and mistake as to the affiliation, connection, or association of General

Patton and/or his assignees with the infringing videogame, and as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of the infringing videogame by General Patton and/or his assignees," CMG states in its complaint. "Consumers would readily understand that Maximum's use of General Patton's name, image and likeness in connection with the infringing videogame is a reference to General Patton. Indeed, Maximum expects and intends consumers to understand this as part of its marketing efforts."

CMG says it has tried to resolve the matter outside the courts without success.

"Maximum's conduct has caused, and continues to cause, substantial, immeasurable, and irreparable harm to CMG," the complaint states. "In particular, Maximum's conduct has damaged the value to CMG of General Patton's name, image and likeness; has interfered with CMG's ability to license General Patton's name, image and likeness for use in other video games; and has damaged CMG's ability to enforce its rights to General Patton's name, image and likeness against third parties."

The group is suing for false endorsement, unfair competition and violation of the right of publicity under federal law, as well as unfair competition under California law.

CMG seeks a permanent ban on Maximum's use of the Patton name, damages - including treble damages - and disgorgement of its profits from the game.

The group is represented by Saul Rostamian of the firm Winston & Strawn in Los Angeles.

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