Bad break? KitKat maker accused of copying Atari Breakout game in ad

Nestlé has been accused of copying Atari’s classic 1970s video game Breakout for a KitKat marketing campaign.

In a complaint filed on Thursday in a federal court in San Francisco, Atari said Nestlé knowingly exploited the Breakout name, look and feel through social media and a video, hoping to leverage “the special place it holds among nostalgic baby boomers, Generation X, and even today’s millennial and post-millennial gamers”.

Atari cited an ad titled KitKat: Breakout, in which adults and children sitting on a sofa used paddles to knock down KitKat bars.

According to Atari, “Nestlé simply took the classic Breakout screen, replaced its bricks with KitKat bars, and invited customers to ‘break out’ and buy more candy bars.”

The games firm accused Nestlé of copyright and trademark infringement and unfair competition.

KitKat ‘Breakout’ ad

“The infringing conduct in this case is so plain and blatant that Nestlé cannot claim to be an ‘innocent’ infringer,” Atari said. “Nestlé knew exactly what it was doing.”

It is seeking three times Nestlé’s profit from the alleged infringement, plus triple and punitive damages.

Nestlé said: “This is a UK TV advert that ran in 2016. The ad no longer runs and we have no current plans to rerun it.

“We are aware of the lawsuit in the US and will defend ourselves strongly against these allegations.”


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