Zuffa Sues Ubisoft

By Mike Whitman Dec 13, 2010
Two more mixed martial arts-related lawsuits were filed last week, as Zuffa LLC, parent company of the UFC, filed a claim against Ubisoft and two Tapout investors filed a complaint against the company and its affiliates.

Zuffa is claiming trademark infringement over the term “ULTIMATE FIGHTING” against Ubisoft, the company that recently produced and distributed a video game called “Fighters Uncaged.” The game drops players into the world of underground street-fighting and encourages gamers to become “the ULTIMATE FIGHTING weapon.”

Zuffa alleges that use of the trademarked term deliberately confuses consumers and creates association with the UFC and the illegal street-fighting depicted in the video game. The complaint claims this tarnishes Zuffa’s reputation and therefore hurts it as a business. Zuffa is asking that Ubisoft be ordered to stop producing any product that infringes on the Zuffa trademark and that all copies of the game or any other material bearing the mark be destroyed.

In the second unrelated suit, Tapout investors Bert Bedrosian and Kenneth Stickney are suing the clothing and merchandise company over a September transaction in which the brand was acquired by Authentic Brands Group for significantly less than what the company was worth, according to the plaintiffs. Bedrosian and Stickney are claiming that the board managers -- including onetime Tapout President Marc Kreiner and co-founder Daniel “Punkass” Caldwell -- ignored their fiduciary duties to investors and acted unconscionably in selling the brand to ABG.

Because many pertinent monetary figures have been redacted from the publicly available version of the complaint, Sherdog was unable to report the exact amounts at issue in the sale and the suit. After ignoring two offers from outside parties to purchase the brand, the plaintiffs claim, the defendants misled investors regarding the nature of the ABG transaction, and the compensation the plaintiffs will receive for the sale is “far less than they ever agreed to.” The plaintiffs are asking that the transaction be rescinded and that they be justly compensated for the damages inflicted upon them.

J.R. Riddell contributed to this report. Riddell, an attorney at the global law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, is experienced in various matters related to the business of MMA. A more detailed background regarding his experience is available through his lawyer profile at www.orrick.com. This article does not provide legal advice, and any opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of his law firm. Riddell can be reached at jriddell@sherdog.com.
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