Juli Adams – an artist based in Seattle – has agreed to an out-of-court settlement for an intellectual property dispute relating to toys she designed for a pet products company, which were based on her artwork and designs independent of the Angry Birds video game by Rovio.
Official court papers reveal that Hartz Mountain Corp asked Ms Adams to design a range of pet toys in 2006, and the company agreed to a five-year licensing contract with her.
At some point between 2009 and 2011 Hartz reportedly breached the licensing agreement by ending production of Ms Adams’ toys and instead manufacturing similar products based on the Angry Birds game by Rovio. In doing so, Hartz were accused of illegally licensing Ms Adams’ intellectual property and the “Angry Birds” trademark.
Responding to the accusations that the company illegally used Ms Adams’ intellectual property, Hartz said that the licence pertained only to the artist’s drawings or illustrations of animals, not to the “Angry Birds” trademark.
Ms Adams initially launched a legal case against Hartz Mountain Corp in August 2014, stating that the company failed to pay her millions of dollars from the sale of the Angry Birds toys.
An attempt by Hartz to dismiss the case in December 2014 was denied by US District Judge Robert Lasnik, who stated that Ms Adams had made a plausible case that she had retained intellectual property rights in the “Angry Birds” trademark.
In December 2015, a settlement notice filed in the US District Court in Washington confirmed that all claims featured in the lawsuit had been resolved, although a settlement was reached only a day after a jury trial had been scheduled to commence.