Nestlé sued by Atari for KitKat 'Breakout' marketing

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Atari's retro video game Breakout was popular in the Seventies and Eighties. Photo: Flickr/Fuyuan Cheng
Atari's retro video game Breakout was popular in the Seventies and Eighties. Photo: Flickr/Fuyuan Cheng
Nestlé says it will strongly defend itself after it was accused of breaching copyright of Atari’s Seventies video game Breakout in marketing its KitKat brand.

Video game firm Atari Interactive filed a lawsuit against Nestlé in a US district court in California last Thursday.

It argues Nestlé breached intellectual property rights for video game Breakout in a TV ad for KitKat and in social media campaigns.

UK TV ad and social media campaign

“Nestlé simply took the classic Breakout screen, replaced its bricks with KitKat bars, and invited customers to ‘Breakout’ and buy more candy bars,”​ said Atari in the court filing.

Nestlé told us in a statement: “This is a UK TV advert that ran in 2016. The ad no longer runs and we have no current plans to re-run it. We are aware of the lawsuit in the US and will defend ourselves strongly against these allegations.”

ConfectioneryNews has contacted Atari’s lawyers for comment and is awaiting a response.

Atari said in the lawsuit Nestlé’s TV ad was available globally online via video-sharing website Vimeo. Nestlé has since removed the Vimeo ad.

Atari now and then

Atari Interactive, Inc is headquartered in New York. The company developed popular video games such as Pong and Asteroids and consoles like Atari 2600 from the 1970s to mid-1980s.

Breakout was released in 1976 as a home version to popular arcade game Pong.

It was in part developed by a young Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who later cofounded Apple.

Atari launched an iPhone version of Breakout in 2008, which it claims has been downloaded more than 2 million times since its release.

Three Atari businesses including Atari Interactive filed for bankruptcy in 2013, but reemerged a year later while entering social casino gaming.

The company recently announced plans to launch new video game console Ataribox.

Atari Interactive Inc v Nestle SA et al.
Case No: 3:17-cv-04803-SK
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

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