Atari sues Nestle, says Kit Kat video game ad violates Breakout copyright

Atari claims that a commercial for Nestle’s Kit Kat candy bars violates the copyright and trademark rights of Breakout, Atari’s iconic 1975 video game.

Nestle’s 30-second spot “leverage[s] Breakout and the special place it holds among nostalgic Baby Boomers, Generation X, and even today’s Millennial and post-Millennial ‘gamers’ in order to maximize the advertisement’s reach,” say Atari’s lawyers in the complaint (PDF), filed Thursday in a California federal court.

“Nestle simply took the classic Breakout screen, replaced its bricks with KIT KAT bars, and invited customers to “Breakout” and buy more candy bars,” the complaint states.

The ad, which only aired in the United Kingdom, was viewable via Vimeo on Friday but has since been removed. It portrayed gamers of different ages playing a game of Breakout in which the bricks that the players break are replaced by chocolate bars.

Atari today is a very different corporate entity from the one that created Breakout, having gone through a series of sales and mergers. The company hasn’t hesitated to enforce its game trademarks and has gone so far as to defend its exclusive right to use the term “Haunted House” in video…

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