Atari bearing down on iPhone Breakout clones

Gaming giant's legal team blasting App Store blocks

Atari bearing down on iPhone Breakout clones
We all remember how Atari was the target of the first ever gaming lawsuit back when it borrowed Ralph Baer's electronic bat and ball game and turned it into Pong, which is a corporate embarrassment the company has never really got over. In response, Atari has since armed itself with a powerful team of ever ready lawyers, who've now been set to the task of eliminating Breakout clones on the iPhone.

iPhone developer Bootant posted yesterday on TouchArcade's forum that it's been asked by Atari to remove BreakClassic and BreakTouch 3D from the App Store. In turn, this brought to light that Spiffyware, the developer of Super Pong 2 has also been asked to remove its game, saying:

"Some very unfortunate news, I have been asked to remove SuperPong 2 from the App Store at the request of Atari Interactive due to possible infringements against Pong and Breakout copyrights."

While Breakout is presumably something Atari can lay ownership claim to, Pong is surely more of a legal grey area, since Atari only ever owned a license from Sanders Associates and Magnavox, who actually invented the game. Another iPhone game that's met with opposition from Atari is Gyrocade's 3D Vector Pong, though the solution, it seems, was to rename the game to 3D Vector Ball – a move which supports the theory that 'electronic bat and ball' games don't actually fall within Atari's legal remit.
Breakout clones are prevalent on the iPhone, however, which does leave a substantial amount of fodder for hungry lawyers to graze upon, so stay tuned for more news as it happens (and don't think too long about that Breakout clone game you've been considering buying from the App Store).

Yes. Spanner's his real name. And, yes, he's heard that joke before.