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Tuesday, January 03, 2012, 12:58 pm PT (03:58 pm ET)

Atari's legal threats prompt Apple to pull some games from iOS App Store

Game maker Atari has reportedly set its sights on applications in Apple's iOS App Store that it believes are illegal knock-offs of its own classic titles.

Legal pressure from Atari has caused some titles to be removed by Apple from the App Store, including "Vector Tanks" by Black Powder Media, gamesindustry.biz reported on Tuesday (via The Loop). The developer issued a statement saying that anything with a "passing resemblance to an Atari classic has been issued a copyright infringement claim."

The developer asserts that Atari has a "special relationship" with Apple, which has led to applications being pulled without a chance for rebuttal or further evaluation. Black Power Media's "Vector Tanks" is a wireframe 3D game that resembles Atari's "Battlezone."

The developer even claims they previously attempted to contact Atari to license their intellectual property for "Vector Tanks," but they could not be reached. He said the company seems "to have fallen off the planet."

An official Kickstarter page that was originally seeking funding to create a "Vector Tanks 3" states that Atari's legal pressure has affected "hundreds of apps" available for the iPhone and iPad. However, there's no indication how many other applications have been affected or pulled from the App Store because of Atari's approach.



The third installment of the tank game will now be redesigned with faster vehicles and air-based attackers to avoid Atari's claims of intellectual property infringement, and will have the name "The Visceral Adventures of Vic Vector."

"Spurred by the competition and their heavy tactics, we're making our game that much better, and Vic Vector's universe that much sleeker and cooler," the developer said.