Bethesda Denied Restraining Order Against Masthead Studios in Fallout MMOG Dispute

Bethesda suffers another setback in their Fallout IP legal battle with Interplay after a judge dismisses their move for a restraining order against co-developer Masthead Studios.

The legal battle between Bethesda and Interplay would have to work pretty hard to get any uglier than it already is. Following Bethesda’s acquisition of the Fallout IP from Interplay in 2007, the developer licensed the right to create an MMOG back to Interplay provided that they could meet certain conditions. Since 2009, Bethesda has claimed those conditions have not been met and has been locked in a constant legal battle with Interplay over the IP.

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style="font-style: italic;">Stand by for more. This one isn't even close to over.

The mudslinging and teeth gnawing battle has had everything from allegations of breach of contract to lawsuits and countersuits, sniping and Interplay’s nearly bankrupt financial woes. Earthrise developer Masthead Studios joined up with Interplay in 2009 to help co-develop Fallout Online (at the time codenamed Project: V13) and has now found itself in Bethesda's crosshairs.

Bethesda put in an application for ex parte to place a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Masthead Studios that was promptly struck down by U.S. District Judge, the Honorable John F. Walter, who according to rejected the TRO before Masthead even had a chance to offer opposition. If Bethesda had been successful, they may have very well dealth a crippling blow to Interplay's development efforts.

Plaintiff has not demonstrated that it will be irreparably prejudiced if the requested ex parte relief is not granted, or that it is without fault in creating the crisis that requires ex parte relief. Indeed, Plaintiff was aware as early as February 2011 that Masthead was potentially infringing its copyrights. Yet, Plaintiff waited seven months to apply for ex parte relief. The Court finds that Plaintiff unreasonably delayed in seeking relief, and that the emergency that allegedly justifies a TRO is self-created. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause Re: Preliminary Injunction is DENIED.

This isn’t the only setback that Bethesda has suffered in their legal pursuit. Last year a U.S. District Court judge denied their motion for a preliminary injunction against Interplay, allowing work on the Fallout MMOG to continue. The only thing certain thus far is that this battle is still far from over.

Do you think Fallout Online will ever see release or will it go the way of Stargate Worlds? Tell us what you think in the comments below.


via Gamasutra

Milford & Associates

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Stacy "Martuk" Jones was a long-time news editor and community manager for many of our previous game sites, such as Age of Conan. Stacy has since moved on to become a masked super hero, battling demons in another dimension.

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