Angry Birds Decision not Bird Brained
Angry Birds decision not entirely bird-brained.
Changsha, China has put itself on the map. Formerly known best for its importance during the Qin Dynasty (221 – 207 BC), this city on the river Xiang is now in the heart of a legal situation between some Finns, birds, and a “stress-reduction” festival. What gives?
Rovio, the Finnish company which created the Angry Birds iPod application, has certain intellectual property rights to the bird characters they created and the method by which app users can slingshot the birds into a variety of bird cages, obnoxious monkeys, rude pumpkins and other targets. Window of the World Park recently added, as part of the stress-reduction festival, an Angry Birds attraction at which guests can put Angry Birds in a slingshot and try to nail pigs and the other usual suspects off 10’ to 20’ structures. Apparently this is good for reducing stress. Gamersky.com quoted one Park official as stating that the Angry Birds attraction is useful “as a method for people to purge themselves and to gain happiness”. While I can recall several meals I’ve had in China that definitely were good for “purging”, I didn’t gain a whole lot of happiness from the end results of these meals. The Angry Birds attraction on the other hand, appears to offer a lot of happiness without the kind of purging that “six-day-old tofu on rice” provides.
The only problem here is the Window of the World Park did not receive permission from Rovio before creating the park. So what happens? Well, with so many unemployed and underemployed lawyers around, surely there would be a multitude of lawsuits being filed: Rovio v. Park for IP infringement, Angry Bird addict v. Rovio for addicting them to Angry Birds, then taking away their Park, Park Employee v. Park for hiring employee then firing him/her when they had to shut down Park due to negligence in lack of due diligence over Rovio’s IP, class action lawsuit v. Rovio and Park for contributing to the addiction of multitudes to Angry Birds. Yep, I could just see a ton of lawsuits coming out of this.
But, just as King Leonidas pulled his “This is Sparta” routine on Xerxes’ messenger, so Rovio appears to be stating “This is Finland, and in Finland, we don’t sue everyone over everything” or something to that effect. Anyway, Window of the World Park is doing much better than the messenger in “300” who got kicked into the well by Leonidas. Rather than immediately filing a plethora of lawsuits, Rovio is entering into negotiations with the Park to mutually profit from sales of Angry Birds merchandise. Indeed, Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka, self-described by the title Mighty Eagle, appears to be striking an admirable balance between the carrot and the stick. He has indicated pride in the fact that Angry Birds one of the top three most copied brands in China, but he also wants some of the action. I can only hope that this issue resolves itself without going to court (I’m sure that Mr. Vesterbacka is also aware of what court will be hearing his case should he bring it in the country where the alleged infringement is taking place).
[In the interests of full disclosure the author of this piece regularly competes with his 4-year old son over the iPad to play Angry Birds]