Universal v. Nintendo

king kong

After Donkey Kong's popularity in 1981, the motion picture company Universal sued Nintendo over copyright infringement with King Kong. However, to get a movie made in 1976, Universal had proven that the story of King Kong was in public domain.

The judge eventually ruled that Universal did not own the rights to King Kong and, even if they did, the public would not confuse it for Donkey Kong. Nintendo was paid $1.8 million in total damages. Additionally it was found that a King Kong arcade machine was infringing upon Nintendo’s Donkey Kong license.

John Kirby, the attorney representing Nintendo, was given his usual fees, a boat named Donkey Kong, along with  exclusive worldwide rights to that name on sailboats. It is speculated  that the Nintendo character Kirby is named after him, but there is no official evidence to support this.