Update: Manuel Noriega, Lindsay Lohan Take Aim at “Call of Duty,” “Grand Theft Auto” Video Game Makers

The Superior Court of California has granted Activision’s motion to dismiss with prejudice Noriega v. Activision/Blizzard pursuant to California’s Anti-Slapp Statute.

In its October 27, 2014, decision, the court explained that the defendant’s use of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega’s likeness in the video game “Call of Duty”  was de minimis and the character was transformative.  In this regard, the court determined the character created for the video game was more like “the defendant’s own expression rather than the celebrity’s likeness.”

The court also distinguished this lawsuit from the No Doubt v. Activision lawsuit, where the “characters” were really lifelike depictions of the rock band in the “Band Hero” video game.

We will continue to monitor case developments and courts’ treatment of anti-SLAPP, First Amendment and other defenses in these types of cases, including a watchful eye on Lindsay Lohan’s similar “Grand Theft Auto” suit in New York.

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