Judge throws out "factually baseless" Call of Duty lawsuit

Judge throws out "factually baseless" Call of Duty lawsuit

A California judge has dismissed a lawsuit claiming that Activision Blizzard copied games firm Brooks Entertainment.

The verdict was publicised by Wilson Sonsini's Brian J Levyas reported by Kotaku – which lays out the case, which was filed back in November 2021. The lawsuit, from Brooks Entertainment, alleged that when Activision featured Sean Brooks as the "main character" of 2016's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, it was copying 'Shon Brooks', a trademark of Brooks Entertainment and the main character of its games Stock Picker and Save One Bank.

As justification of this, Brooks Entertainment details some "similarities" between Shon Banks and Sean Banks, including the fact they both bring thieves to justice and have unlimited resources. There's also a bizarre segment where Brooks seems to claim that Call of Duty copied the first-person perspective from Save Bank One.

In March, Activision Blizzard's lawyer played through Infinite Warfare and immediately realised that most of the allegations were not accurate, not least because Sean Brooks is not the main character.

On July 12th, the court dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning that it cannot be brought again. Furthermore, Judge Todd W. Robinson ordered Brooks Entertainment counsel to reimburse Activision Blizzard's legal fees and any other costs it incurred during the case. They also point out that a "reasonable pre-filing inquiring" into the facts of the case would have shown that there was nothing really there. 

"Call of Duty is a first-person shooter game, not first-and third-person as alleged, and Sean Brooks does not conduct a scripted battle scene in a high fashion couture shopping mall," Robinson wrote.

"Plaintiff's counsel could have easily verified these facts prior to filing the factually baseless Complaint, just as the Court easily verified them within the first hour and a half of playing the game."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.