Fighters Inc. Sues Electronic Arts Over "Fight Night Round 4"
Fighters, Inc. sued Electronic Arts (“EA”) yesterday in Federal District Court in Los Angeles alleging unfair competition and other violations of federal and state law because of EA’s intentional misappropriation of the names and likenesses of professional boxers in its “Fight Night Round 4” video game. The complaint alleges that EA had actual knowledge of the Fighters Inc.’s group licensing program and sought to undermine the interests of professional boxers by entering into individual contracts with professional boxers who EA knew were subject to the group licensing program. The complaint seeks $15 million in compensatory damages as well as punitive damages..
Article posted on 04.09.2009
Fighters Inc.’s Managing Member, Chip Meyers, said: “Not only did EA take money out of the pockets out of all professional boxers who are participating in the group licensing program, but its intentional misconduct could completely destroy what we are trying to build to empower today’s professional boxers with the same marketing and earning presence that is enjoyed by professional athletes in all of the major sports.”
“Chip and the current and former boxers who are participating in Fighters Inc.’s group licensing program are pioneers. EA’s blatant disregard of our group licensing rights threatens to deny boxers the marketing income and growth opportunities that have become the standard for professional athletes in all of the other major sports,” said David Cornwell, counsel to Fighters Inc.
The primary objective of Fighters, Inc. is to increase the respect, presence, marketing and earning power of the best professional boxers in the world, both current and retired World Champions. The group licensing program is modeled after the very successful group licensing programs of the National Football League Players Association and the other group licensing entities in professional sports, all of which have substantially increased the marketing income paid to thousands of athletes over the long term.
Since 2007, Fighters Inc. has signed over 32 professional boxers to group licensing agreements and has secured licensing agreements with video game and trading card companies. These relationships not only provide much needed additional income to professional boxers, but they also provide professional boxers an ownership stake in the business of boxing.
Former Heavyweight Champion, Shannon Briggs said, “From Jack Johnson to Muhammad Ali, progress for boxers has only come by fighting for what’s right. Chip Meyers and Fighters Inc. are trying to give boxers the same rights and earning power as professional athletes in all other sports. Fighters Inc. is standing up for us and we need to stand behind Fighters Inc. if we expect to get the respect that we deserve and the long term stability that athletes in other sports enjoy.”
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