The Best Design Lawsuits of the Month Involve Processed Meat and Simulated Football

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By Steve Delahoyde Comment

It’s a good time for interesting design-based lawsuits this week. First, Hormel Foods has taken the Zwanenberger Food Group to court, alleging that the packaging for latter’s luncheon meat, Prem, looks too similar to Hormel’s famous and infamous rival product, Spam. This particular battle has reportedly been going on since last fall, when Hormel issued a cease-and-desist letter to stop copying their packaging, which Zwanenberger initially agreed to, redesigning their Prem tins with simple blue type on black metal. However, Hormel has discovered that the company is still selling the product in its original packaging in the Philippines. Hormel issued another cease-and-desist, which has apparently been ignored, and now it appears that the food giant is bringing the hammer down.

For the second interesting case, unrelated to processed meat, but somehow seeming somewhat similar, the original designer behind the massively successful video game series, Madden NFL Football (or just “Madden” if you want to sound like you’re in the know), is suing publisher Electronic Arts for the millions of dollars in royalties he feels he’s owed from the franchise, which has to date “reaped more than $4 billion in profits over the years.” Robin Antonick claims he designed and developed the game in the mid-’80s, signing a contract with EA that entitled him to a portion of the profits made from any future release of the series, though he hasn’t received a penny since the early ’90s. According to Reuters, the two parties have spent the last few years “engaged in confidential settlement negotiations,” but have never worked anything out, hence this new suit.