filed suit against pet product manufacturer Hartz, alleging that the company denied her profits when it ditched her trademarked "Angry Birds" toy line in favor of licensed products based on Rovio's mobile hit Angry Birds.
Adams' own "Angry Birds" lineup of catnip-filled toys predates Rovio's franchise, originally launching in partnership with Hartz in November 2006. As part of the agreement, Hartz received limited licensing rights, allowing it to sell the toys in pet stores while forbidding the licensing of Adams' intellectual property to third parties. Adams retained full intellectual property rights in the partnership.
After the Angry Birds mobile game debuted in 2009, Hartz began distributing Rovio-licensed toys while its partnership with Adams was still in effect. Adams' representing attorney Anthony Shapiro claims that Hartz subsequently earned "tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars from sales of the Angry Birds pet toys," without legal property rights to the trademark. The suit alleges that Hartz later informed Adams that she could no longer use the "Angry Birds" name due to a licensing conflict.
While Rovio had trademarked the Angry Birds name for licensed children's toys, clothing and other products, it specifically excluded pet toys from its attempted trademarks, deferring to Hartz' trademark that it established in partnership with Adams. Hartz is the sole named defendant in Adams' case; Rovio is not targeted in the suit.
Adams' complaint seeks "disgorgement of all of Hartz's ill-gotten gains, a reasonable royalty as owed to her under the Agreement, and an accounting, as well as a return of her Intellectual Property, including all associated trademarks and copyright registrations for 'Angry Birds' pet toys."
[Image: Hartz / Adams / Rovio]