September 14, 2009
It would appear that the radiation that covered the wasteland isn't the only hazard in the world of the post-apocalyptic franchise Fallout. Bethesda Softworks, the owners to the Fallout rights, recently sued Interplay for trademark infringement and breech of contract regarding previously released Fallout titles. According to an article on Gamasutra, Bethesda claims that Interplay was allowed to sell previously released Fallout titles manufactured by Interplay, but that any and all items such as promotional materials and advertisements had to be given to Bethesda for approval. As a result, Bethesda claims brand confusion between previous Fallout titles (such as the Interplay advertised Fallout Trilogy downloadable pack) and the recently released Fallout 3. Further, Bethesda has stated that Interplay's deals with digital distribution sites for the earlier Fallout titles constituted trademark infringement and a breach of their prior business agreement.
The last claim within the suit is perhaps more serious for Interplay and its future game plans, as Bethesda is also asking the court to terminate a 2007 agreement between both companies for the Fallout MMO. According to the franchise rights deal in 2007, a clause within the contract allowed Interplay to "license back the rights to develop an MMO based on the Fallout series," provided that development had occurred by April 4 of this year. On top of that, Interplay had to secure thirty million dollars for the development of the game and launch it by 2011. Failing to accomplish these tasks could result in the rights of the MMO reverting back to Bethesda.
We contacted both companies regarding the lawsuit, and while we managed to talk to Bethesda, a spokesman said that the company had no comment on the situation. Interplay, on the other hand, did not respond to our phone calls.
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