The Mooresville-based company that owns John Dillinger’s publicity rights has made an “offer” of sorts
that the Godfather can’t refuse.
On Oct. 1, Dillinger LLC, which owns the trademark for the legendary Depression-era
bank robber, filed a federal lawsuit against Redwood City, Calif.-based Electronic Arts Inc., a software company that produced
video game versions of the classic Francis Ford Coppola film “The Godfather” for Sony Playstation, Microsoft Xbox,
Nintendo Wii and the personal computer.
Dillinger died in 1934. Since then, he’s become a kind of Robin Hood figure in popular culture.
Just this spring, he was the subject of a major Hollywood movie: “Public Enemies,” starring Johnny Depp.
In Electronic Arts’ games, players maneuver through a virtual world based on “The Godfather” films’
story line, facing rival gangs in a quest to become the most powerful mob family in America and Cuba. The lawsuit notes that,
as the games progress, players must obtain weapons with greater firepower.
Different iterations of the game
offer various versions of the Dillinger Tommy Gun. But, according to the suit, Electronic Arts never obtained Dillinger LLC’s
consent or authorization to use its trademark.
As a result, Dillinger LLC is asking for a permanent injunction
restraining Electronic Arts from selling any games using Dillinger’s name, for all unsold games to be turned over for
destruction at Electronic Arts’ cost, and an order requiring Electronic Arts to pay for rehabilitative advertising of
the Dillinger trademark.