SF-Based Litigation Funder Legalist Backs Atari's Copyright Campaign

Atari has sued a string of companies with copyright claims including online retailer Redbubble, retailer Target and chocolate maker Nestlé.

Christopher Niesche
Original Article

Litigation finance firm Legalist is funding game development company Atari Interactive in its ongoing trademark and copyright infringement lawsuits.

“We respect intellectual property, and fighting copyright infringement is important,” Frederic Chesnais, CEO of Atari SA, said in a statement. “Partnering with Legalist enables us to bring that effort to the next level.”

Legalist invests in commercial litigation by using algorithms that scrape state and federal court records to source and help underwrite investments. The firm exclusively focuses on midmarket cases that require less than $1 million in funding.

A press release from Atari earlier this year indicated that Legalist is providing €900,000 (US$991,926) in funding to Atari.

“Legalist is proud to aid a revolutionary gaming brand like Atari in litigating its claims in federal court,” Legalist CEO and co-founder Eva Shang said in a statement. “Legalist’s unique combination of technology and human expertise is what allows us to underwrite David vs. Goliath cases quickly and efficiently.”

Atari was originally founded in Sunnyvale, California, in 1972. It is now based in Paris. In 2014, under the new leadership of Chesnais, Atari SA and its subsidiaries Atari Interactive and Atari Inc. began a new corporate strategy to rekindle the Atari brand, Legalist said.

Atari SA had an annual operating income of €2.5 million ($2.76 million) in the 12 months ended March 21, 2019, according to its annual financial report. Data from Yahoo Finance puts its total market capitalization at $84 million, according to data from Yahoo Finance.

The company has sued or is suing online retailer Redbubble for allegedly selling counterfeit and copyright-infringing products; retailer Target for developing a game called Foot Pong, which the firm alleged was like its own game Pong; chocolate maker Nestle, alleging a Kit Kat video game advertisement violates the copyright and trademark rights of its 1975 arcade game Breakout; among others.