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'Angry Birds' lawsuit: Artist owed 'reasonable royalties'

Hamza Ali, special to CNBC
Tim Whitby | Getty Images

Artist Juli Adams has accused pet supply company Hartz Mountain Company of illegally selling her "Angry Birds" designs to video game producer Rovio.

The Seattle, Washington-based artist, who designed a range of "Angry Birds" cat toys for the company, filed a lawsuit against Hartz on Monday.

Adams claimed that she created and licensed the "Angry Birds" designs in November of 2006—long before the creation of the popular mobile gameand that Hartz Mountain Company had "improperly reaped millions of dollars in profits" from her intellectual property.

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The licensing agreement between Adams and Hartz Mountain Company, which had a fixed-term of five years, stated that there was to be "no transfer of ownership of the 'Angry Birds' Intellectual Property from Juli Adams to Hartz," according to the lawsuit.

It also said that Hartz's last royalty payment to Adams was in 2011 for $40.66. Adams now wants "reasonable royalties" and the return of her "Angry Birds" intellectual property.

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Rovio, although named, is not the subject of this lawsuit, although it has been embroiled in a number of different legal battles over the "Angry Birds" trademark.

Last month it filed a suit against Young Star Toys & Gifts over what it called "counterfeit knockoffs" based on its popular Angry Birds games and characters.

By Hamza Ali, special to CNBC