2010 was quite a year for controversy and lawsuits from the MMOG side of the gaming industry and last week we reported our first MMOG-related lawsuit story of the year with the US Patent lawsuit against Activision Blizzard and Zynga. But this week we pick back up on the saga of Fallout Online between Fallout property owner Bethesda and former owner turned licensee, Interplay, which seems to have carried over into 2011.
Poor Harold gets caught in Interplay and Bethesda's crossfire again.
In November of last year, Bethesda filed an amended complaint against Interplay over the use of Fallout assets to promote and develop Fallout Online. The complaint alleged that Interplay's license only granted the developer rights to use the Fallout trademark in its MMOG development, but all other assets relating to the Fallout universe and its characters were not included in the license.
This week Gamasutra obtained a court document filed by Interplay that argued against Bethesda's interpretation of the licensing and purchase agreements. Under Bethesda's interpretation of the agreement, Interplay is to develop and release a Fallout MMOG that essentially is separate from the established Fallout series and without the use of any of the known characters like Harold. But Interplay argued that by separating the MMOG from established content would deny them the benefits of using the Fallout brand itself.
"First, this is not only absurd, but is specifically prohibited [emphasis Interplay's] by the agreement because Interplay was only granted a 'license and right to use the Licensed Marks on and in connection with its FALLOUT-branded MMOG ... and for no other purpose," the filing added.
Interplay states that Bethesda's claims are "without merit" and has asked the courts for the opportunity to present evidence to show the parties intent relating to the use of the Fallout brand.