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Fortnite Makers Dance Around IP Suit Over Running Man
Author: David A. EinhornDate: June 29, 2020
The makers of the popular Fortnite video game are doing the "happy” dance after a Maryland federal judge dismissed an intellectual property lawsuit alleging that Epic Games illegally copied the “Running Man” dance popularized by two former University of Maryland basketball players. According to U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm, the plaintiffs’ claims are preempted by the U.S. Copyright Act.
In Brantley et al. v. Epic Games, Inc., Plaintiffs Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens, the former basketball players, alleged that Defendant Epic Games, Inc. intentionally copied the movements of the “Running Man” dance, which they allegedly created, named, and popularized, and incorporated them as a feature of its highly popular online video game Fortnite. The suit included eight causes of action under common law and the federal Lanham Act for invasion of the right of privacy/publicity, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and false designation of origin. On May 29, 2020, the court dismissed all of the claims.