Interplay countersues Bethesda over Fallout

After 10-day extension request, postapocalyptic RPG creator claims current rights holder breached acquisition agreement, meddled with business deals.

Bethesda Softworks unleashed its legal hounds on Interplay last month over the two companies' dealings with the Fallout intellectual property. The suit accused Interplay of 10 counts of breach of contract and trademark infringement by not abiding by various agreements that arose following Bethesda Softworks' purchase of the Fallout IP from franchise creator Interplay in 2007.

The Brotherhood of Steel are ready and willing to...arbitrate.

Late last week, Interplay responded to Bethesda's suit, petitioning the court for a 10-day extension as well as countersuing the Fallout IP owner with its own breach of contract charges. Specifically, Interplay claims that Bethesda violated the terms of the trademark licensing agreement (TLA) and asset purchase agreement (APA), which were both entered into in April 2007.

As part of the suit, Interplay states that it had the rights to grant Glutton Creeper Games the license to make a Fallout-based pen-and-paper role-playing game based on the original RPGs. Interplay claims that while Bethesda could have prevented the licensing deal immediately, it waited until August before notifying Glutton Creeper that it must cease and desist work on the pen-and-paper RPG. Glutton Creeper subsequently sued Interplay, the suit states, causing the studio to incur substantial legal fees.

The Fallout creator also claims that Bethesda acted in bad faith in its dealings with Interplay's business partners, specifically those that dealt with merchandising rights. The suit states that Bethesda sent on-demand PC game service GameTap a letter informing it that Interplay did not have the rights to license out the original Fallout RPGs, a charge Interplay denies. Therefore, Interplay claims that Bethesda's actions caused it to incur further financial hardship.

By way of its countersuit, Interplay seeks a declaration that it continues to hold and make use of its licensing rights under the APA and TLA. In the alternative, the publisher seeks that Bethesda's purchasing agreement from 2007 be rescinded, and all Fallout rights return to Interplay. The company has also petitioned the court to award it royalties it would be due under Bethesda's original licensing agreement from 2004, a figure it estimates at $15 million thanks to the highly successful Fallout 3.

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