North Dakota advertising agency H2M Inc. has filed a civil lawsuit against The Annoying Orange creators Dane Boedigheimer and Spencer Grove, accusing the two North Dakota natives of stealing the talking orange character from an ad campaign created between 2005 to 2009 for a North Dakota Department of Transportation advertising campaign. In their claim, H2M states that the two co-creators returned to the North Dakota area to visit family while the ads were airing, and that the characters are “substantially similar,” consisting of an orange with a superimposed mouth and an obnoxious voice. Boedigheimer stated in 2011 that he was first told of H2M’s concerns that year, but that he had never seen the “Talking Orange” commercials and thought the two characters weren’t very similar. The suit seeks an unspecified award of damages based on the profits made by the character since becoming a YouTube hit, leading to merchandise, a video game, and a Cartoon Network animated series.
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