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The real Coral Castle in Florida sues Epic over the fake Coral Castle in Fortnite

(Image credit: Epic Games)

Changes in Fortnite season 3 saw the whirlpool in the northwest corner of the map drained away to reveal Chez Aquaman, except instead of being called Atlantis as you might expect, it's called Coral Castle. The trouble, as Polygon points out, is that Coral Castle already exists: It's a sculpture garden built single-handedly, and in secret, by Latvian immigrant Edward Leedskalnin over a period of 1923-1951. 

Weird bit of trivia: Leedskalnin's story inspired Billy Idol's 1987 hit Sweet Sixteen, and the music video was recorded there. I kid you not.

It's also been used in a handful of feature films, including The Wild Women of Wongo and Nude on the Moon.

Back to the matter at hand: The lawsuit states that the "virtual Coral Castle" in Fortnite "shares common themes with the real Coral Castle," including "nautical/beach motifs, castle structures, partial castle walls, and stone objects. Both also evoke the feeling of a centuries-old mysterious place." It also notes that while the current Fortnite season is centered on DC's Aquaman film, Epic did not call the location Atlantis but opted to call it Coral Castle instead, "in clear and willful violation of Plaintiff's rights in the Trademarks."

"EGI [Epic Games Inc.] is utilizing the vast goodwill associated with the Trademarks to promote the nautical theme of Chapter 2 Season 3 of Fortnite: Battle Royale, and to promote sales of V-Bucks and Battle Passes, without the consent or approval of CCI [Coral Castle Inc.], and without compensation to CCI," the lawsuit states.

That seems like a stretch to me—I rather strongly suspect that Fortnite is not leaning too heavily on a roadside tourist attraction in Florida for its success. There are arguably some physical similarities between them, though. 

(Image credit: Epic Games)
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(Image credit: Coral Castle Inc)
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(Image credit: Coral Castle Inc)
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(Image credit: Coral Castle Inc)

CCI's suit claims trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, and a couple counts of "violation of Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act." It's seeking an injunction against Epic's use of the name and an order to turn over all materials bearing it, plus monetary damages including profits derived from sales related to the trademark and legal fees.

An Epic representative declined to comment on the case.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.