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Epic Games is finding itself in a battle royale of legal disputes. The video game developer is not only engaged in a massive dispute with Apple and Google over their removal of Fortnite from their app stores, it’s now also being sued by the owners of a Florida landmark over a location recently added to the game Fortnite: Battle Royale.
Locations in the Fortnite world include places named by Epic like Loot Lake and Tilted Towers, according to the complaint, but some of them take their names from other sources — including Gotham City and Westworld.
Earlier this month the game added a location called Coral Castle, which sparked this suit. The problem? The “real” Coral Castle is a tourist destination — often referred to as Florida’s Stonehenge — and that name is trademarked.
The limestone structure in unincorporated Miami-Dade County was built by “an eccentric Latvian-American named Edward Leedskalnin.” He began constructing it in the early 1920s and continued working on it until his death in 1951, according to the complaint. It was originally called Rock Gate, but after the architect died his family sold the property and the new owners renamed it.
“Coral Castle is noted for legends surrounding its creation,” writes attorney Steven M. Appelbaum in the complaint. “Some claim it was built single-handedly by Leedskalnin using reverse magnetism or supernatural abilities to move and carve numerous stones, each weighing many tons.”
The current iteration of the continuing evolving Battle Royale game is referred to as Chapter 2, Season 3, which according to the complaint has a nautical theme and is built around DC Comics character Aquaman. The virtual Coral Castle is described as a beach area with castles, stone objects and statues.
Coral Castle Inc. is suing Epic for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. It’s asking the court to bar Epic from using the name and is seeking damages in an amount to be determined.
Epic declined to comment on the complaint, which is posted below.
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