On June 8, 2023, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court resolved the petition in Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. v. VIP Products LLC with two narrow holdings: (1) the threshold trademark infringement test espoused by the Second Circuit in Rogers v. Grimaldi for “expressive” works does not apply to allegedly infringing trademark use; and (2) humor and parody does not constitute “non-commercial use” within the meaning of the Lanham Act’s exclusion from liability for trademark dilution. In so doing, the Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and remanded to the District Court, leaving questions about the continued viability of the Rogers test, as well as the bounds of the Lanham Act’s “non-commercial use” exclusion from dilution liability.
Fortnite is the most popular video game in the world. So popular that it was last year’s highest earning video game, grossing more than $2.4 billion in 2018 alone. So popular, in fact, that its fans successfully convinced Sony to reverse its longstanding policy against cross-platform gaming, thus allowing PlayStation Fortniters to play with their PC, mobile and other console-owning friends. Fortnite is also free.