Square Enix added $600,000 to its bottom line and is sleeping a little better at night with some injunctive relief (an "injunction" is when a court tells somebody to stop doing something and they stop doing it). The losing defendants--KingofSwords.com, Master Cutlery, Inc., SwordDemon.com and TrueSwords.com--had been selling unlicensed replicas of Final Fantasy swords at wholesale on eBay, Amazon and other internet outlets. But that's all going to stop, and Square Enix promises to "actively pursue those who commit intellectual property infringement against our companies." In a written statement, the defendants declared, "We will never make this mistake again."
[Pictured: One of the offending swords, a replica of the Hyperion Gunblade. Note the spelling.]
DEFENDANTS AGREE TO $600,000 CONSENT JUDGMENT
IN COUNTERFEIT FINAL FANTASY MERCHANDISE LAWSUIT
LOS ANGELES (February 24, 2009) – Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. and Square Enix Co., Ltd. (Square Enix), announced today the settlement of a federal lawsuit in the Central District of California against infringers of intellectual property belonging to Square Enix. The lawsuit named at least four national wholesalers of unlicensed sword replicas and their principals that have infringed Square Enix’s FINAL FANTASY® franchise of videogames and CG-animated film. This settlement follows previous out-of-court settlements against KingofSwords.com, Master Cutlery, Inc., SwordDemon.com and TrueSwords.com.
The settling Georgia-based defendants are Edgework Imports, Inc., Top Swords, Inc., and Wholesale Gallery, Inc, and their respective controlling owners. California-based Pacific Solutions Marketing, Inc. has entered into a separate settlement agreement.
The defendants have each issued a statement as follows: “We regret having sold unauthorized replica merchandise based on the FINAL FANTASY franchise to our customers. We would not have begun importing and selling these swords if we knew that Square Enix would respond so aggressively to stop us. We will never make this mistake again.”
While the complete terms of this settlement are being kept private, a consent judgment for $600,000 and injunctive relief has been publicly filed with the Court. The defendants have agreed to cease selling these items at wholesale and on eBay, Amazon.com and other Internet marketplaces.
"We will continue to actively pursue those who commit intellectual property infringement against our companies," said Yasuhiko Hasegawa, General Counsel for Square Enix Co. Ltd. "We appreciate the efforts of our fans in identifying those who seek to sell them cheap replicas that undermine our efforts to bring only top quality goods and content to our customers.”
The current action is the first major U.S. anti-piracy lawsuit for Square Enix but will not be the last. Square Enix is stepping up its anti-piracy enforcement with aggressive initiatives against individuals and organizations involved in the theft and unauthorized use of the company's intellectual properties. Square Enix will not tolerate the efforts of individuals and companies who misuse its intellectual property by selling counterfeit music, apparel, toys, or other merchandise.
About Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. and Square Enix Co. Ltd.
Square Enix Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd., with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, develops, publishes and distributes entertainment content including interactive entertainment software and publications in Asia, North America and Europe. Square Enix brings two of Japan's best-selling franchises – FINAL FANTASY, which has sold over 85 million units worldwide, and DRAGON QUEST®, which has sold over 47 million units worldwide – under one roof. Square Enix is one of the most influential providers of digital entertainment content in the world and continues to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation. More information on Square Enix can be found on the Internet at http://www.square-enix.com.