Suit: KitKat 'Stole' the Look of This Popular Video Game

Nestle accused of 'blatant' invasion of copyright for the classic game 'Breakout'
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2017 9:52 AM CDT
Suit: KitKat Ripped Off Atari's Breakout for Ad
Nestle is accused of copyright violation in connection with a KitKat ad.   (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire via AP)

Nestle ripped off the classic Atari game Breakout in an ad for KitKat, the BBC reports. The video game maker charges in a lawsuit that Nestle broke copyright laws when it swiped Breakout's "look, feel, sound, and imagery" by replacing the video game's colored bricks with KitKat bars. The company also had problems with Nestle's choice of name—the ad campaign was titled "KitKat: Breakout." The suit filed in San Francisco says the Swiss food company leveraged the "special place" Breakout "holds among nostalgic baby boomers, Generation X, and even today's Millennial and post-Millennial 'gamers.'" The similarity to Breakout "is so plain and blatant that Nestle cannot claim to be an 'innocent' infringer." Atari is seeking three times Nestle's profit from the ad, plus three times other damages such as lost goodwill.

Nestle, whose US and UK subsidiaries were named as defendants, says it will defend itself "strongly against these allegations," noting the ad ran on British television and on the internet in 2016. "The ad no longer runs and we have no current plans to re-run it," a rep tells the BBC. A follow-up to Atari's Pong, Breakout debuted in 1976 and went on to have several versions that use a paddle to bounce a ball upward to collide with horizontal bars. (You can play a version here.) It was the brainchild of Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, who would later use it as a model for the Apple II, the first mass-produced home computer, per the Financial Times. (There's good news and bad news for guys who game.)

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