WWE's latest THQ suit detailed

Wrestling company claims publisher has been illegally sublicensing out rights it doesn't have for the last five years, wants option to terminate long-term contract.

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Last week, publisher THQ announced that it was being sued again by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). This is the second time the WWE has sued the publisher, with the first case still working its way through the courts.

THQ said the latest dispute was over alleged improper sales of WWE games in Japan and other Asian countries, quickly adding its contention that the suit is without merit and the publisher will fight it. However, other details were sparse. GameSpot obtained a copy of the suit today to find out exactly what the wrestling federation's beef with its game-publishing tag-team partner entails.

WWE is claiming that THQ sublicensed out the rights to games based on the wrestling organization for at least the last five years when it didn't have the rights to do so. For one thing, WWE says that THQ never had any kind of a license agreement with the wrestling company in the first place; its deals were made with THQ-Jakks Pacific, a separate joint venture half owned by the publisher and half owned by WWE's toy license-holder Jakks Pacific.

Furthermore, WWE says that the licensing agreement it does have with THQ-Jakks Pacific specifically forbids sublicensing to any company that is not wholly owned by the joint venture without prior written consent from WWE. WWE said that it never received a request for nor granted any such written consent.

As for whom THQ was licensing the rights to, WWE claims it was SmackDown! franchise developer Yuke's (of which THQ is only a part owner), which handles the distribution of WWE games in Japan and other Asian countries. The wrestling organization also claims that THQ was collecting royalties from Yuke's that should have gone straight to the WWE instead.

As for why the WWE hasn't brought the issue to court before now, the company claims that THQ concealed the sublicensing agreements from it. It says that when THQ submitted package approval request forms in 2004 for a game to be sold in Japan, the publisher listed Yuke's as "THQ's regional distributor," and not a sublicensee.

THQ-Jakks Pacific has held the WWE game license since June of 1998, according to the suit, and the agreement currently extends throughout 2009. THQ-Jakks also holds the option to extend that by another five years "provided that certain conditions are met." Those conditions are not specified in the lawsuit.

The WWE is asking for a declaration that it is entitled to terminate its licensing agreement with THQ-Jakks Pacific, for THQ to give up whatever money it made from the sublicensing agreement, and for monetary damages with interest.

When WWE first brought the charges to THQ's attention earlier this year, the publisher denied them. "The WWE had been aware and had consented to the manner of distribution in Japan and the payment of royalties with respect to such sales and, in addition, had separately released the joint venture from any claims with respect to such matter as a result of a settlement of a royalty audit of the THQ/JAKKS joint venture," THQ said, later adding, "We believe we have several bases for defending any claim of breach of the video game license agreement resulting from the manner of distribution of WWE-licensed products in Japan and other Asian territories."

Discussion

108 comments
Shadow_Spinner
Shadow_Spinner

As long as Yukes still makes the game I don't give a crap about who puts it in a box.

tartar23
tartar23

WWE is too greedy - THQ made the franchise a HIT specially with WWE Smackdown : HTCP - WWE won't even hit the higher grounds in Video Game market if it wasn't for THQ , this is like a Stab in the back - shame on WWE , I say THQ dump the WWE brand & make a rumble street wrestler of your own - let's see WWE come up with a better money making idea next time .

tmack24
tmack24

the way i see it thq-jakks has made the wrestling games fun and exciting. while on the other hand aki has also did they part now if only just as an idea thq-jakks-aki teamed and made the game what would yall think then? lol just a hypothetical question. Now look at the EA games look wat they are doing to madden and live both arent pulling they weight i think if anything 2k sports should have a shot at the license cause EA games just suck. But i'd prefer thq to keep it got every wrestling game they made from ps to ps2 even the bad ones for the xbox raw series lol but thq need to keep the license

CENA125
CENA125

You know i don't think wwe even care about there games you know the just want the money so i dont think THQ is going to Smackdown Vs Raw 2008 which will suck because they have been making almost every wrestling game there is today.So WWE stop thinking about the money for a minute and think about fans that buy these games.

_Sam_
_Sam_

what next :roll:

spiderman2007
spiderman2007

the games 2 this point have never been bad, just okay games. akl would be a better fit & more inivative.

Col-Neil
Col-Neil

Were's my nine iron Vinces head needs to be hit with it several times

MartinMan
MartinMan

God EA Sucks! I hope we don't get stuck with those idiots if THQ loses their exclusive deal.

ssn560
ssn560

"Look up WCW Mayhem (the wrestiling game that they contemplated getting rid of the ring entirely???) " WCW Mayhem is a great game.

GrimBee
GrimBee

The sneaky thing is that WWE knows that thq made a tonne of money from this, so i GUARANTEE you that WWE will offer to purchase THQ to foot the bill, or at least have some total control over something THQ does. I mean, WWE usually has a great business head on its shoulders, and to pass up THQ would be very stupid. It's all part of a bigger plan, vince isnt sony ;)

MadGamer132
MadGamer132

hmmmmm, it is okay to handle this, please. i don't know what's next.

Ebigmike2003
Ebigmike2003

yea AKI made the best wwf games ever. Thats why DEF JAM fight for NY was so good, because AKI helped make it.

jacash3492
jacash3492

im pretty sick of the WWE putting out these lamea$$ cases because they need the money to hire better scriptors. WWE is a good company, but relies to much on cash, and not on entertainement. What they are not gettign is that if they sue THQ an Jakks, then they will lose more profit because at least 30 or 40 percent of some of the profits get donated to them. Money can be the route of all evil.

supersnake68
supersnake68

"No, if it WASN'T for the money he'd be a dumBass." very well put

ricsuave
ricsuave

"WHY VINCE WHY! its all for the money huh vince...you are a dumass" No, if it WASN'T for the money he'd be a dumBass.

Gamer360_1
Gamer360_1

WHY VINCE WHY! its all for the money huh vince...you are a dumass

nick1500
nick1500

don't care cause i am not a fan. but this is weird coz these guys did make few dam good games together.

Konfusion
Konfusion

I'm pretty much a "life is a business" kind of guy, but this is lame. Vince & co are counting the dollars here, while they are ignoring that THQ is doing them a favor, since the games were actually good, which helps the WWE for its fans. But anyway, I've already made the switch from WWE to TNA, so it's not like I'm going to miss the next game (or show).

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

Aww come on, drop the stupid charges VINCE!

Seeker25
Seeker25

The Hell with EA!THQ and Yuke's are the perfect team for making the current WWE Games!How can THQ and Yukes cut off after so many successful games?This is absurd..

moppy43
moppy43

Aww... It would be too bad to see THQ stop making WWE games... It's seen so much improvement over the years, it would suck to see it all go out the window. But I don't see them breaking up anytime soon.

yanike18
yanike18

I think EA offered more money for the license and WWE wants out of this contract.

Irve
Irve

If anyone remembers the WWF sued Aklaim to get out of the contract with them. History is repeating itself ! ............. still it's the way most big firms do business.

metaljeff
metaljeff

EA is behind this.They are going to ruin the industry.Boycott their games and watch them crumble!!!

Mr_Saturn26
Mr_Saturn26

nvm, looked up AKI and, it seemed to help make the dragon ball bodokai games, and the def jam games, hmm intresting.

SidSimelia
SidSimelia

I think this could be settled out of court, and this could be a non-issue. I do hope that the licensed WWE games come out of Yukes or AKI development teams. I also think that those have been the best wrestling games. Also it's Cashville Ten a Key..

wenbin09
wenbin09

WWE just want more $.. i believe someone is offring more to make their game.. so that's y they wanted to terminate licensing agreement.

yinyang3
yinyang3

bghattas, you are a smart man on a wrestling board. Until someone also agrees with what I beleive. Then, they're smart men too. Anyway, screw WWE. It's all a bunch of crap anyway. TNA forever.

dragthat
dragthat

tna sucks, wwe, wwe for life

bghattas
bghattas

If this lawsuit is just some ploy for the WWE to get out of its contract with TH*Q/Jakks and jump to EA/Aki then that is sad. While many might be thrilled with the idea of Aki's engine running the next WWE game in next-gen, this lawsuit seems pretty minor to me. I'm no fan of EA's heavy-handed style of frosting so there is some concern. BTW, I don't watch the WWE but I enjoy their Smackdown series. I do watch TNA but the timeslot is terrible as I'm usually in bed. However, November 16th they move to prime time so that will change. I love wrestling and hate "sports entertainment" and I would rather watch Shelton Benjamin and Chris Benoit go 60 minutes over seeing 10 minute DX promos.

ocdog45
ocdog45

something is up for the claim to come out of nowhere.

wwf20112
wwf20112

honestly thq doesnt do that bad of a job but they still not anywhere near aki

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

WWE, stop being a idiot, THQ games helped you.

dmn_link
dmn_link

nintendorocks wrote: "If THQ has been doing this for five years, why wasn't this suit filed five years ago? Seems fishy to me." They said why. "As for why the WWE hasn't brought the issue to court before now, the company claims that THQ concealed the sublicensing agreements from it."

nintendorocks
nintendorocks

If THQ has been doing this for five years, why wasn't this suit filed five years ago? Seems fishy to me.

DoubleDragon1
DoubleDragon1

Yes the WWE is worth billions and they really don't need to do this whole lawsuit thing. This is all about someone taking their brand and profiting off of it without consent. I can see why they have beef with THQ. Obviously Vince doesn't need the money, this is just a matter of principle. If these charges are true, THQ's reputation is definitely in the toilet.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

If this will get AKI back in the door so we can get the quality of wrestling titles back to the N64 days (WCW vs. NWO: World Tour, WCW/NWO Revenge, WWE Wrestlemania 2000, and WWE No Mercy), then I'm all for this.

ashy_knuckles
ashy_knuckles

kells77 "THQ is done, that is what you get for not realsing the game for the company that helped the WWE get into videogames, Sony" Yeah, becuz those games they made for the N64, Super Nintendo, and NES didn't sell worth a lick. McMahon, Madden, Mario and Master Chief owe it all to SONY. (sarcasm)

steelcityD36
steelcityD36

AKI !!!!!!!!!! PLEASE COME BACK AND SAVE WRESTLING GAMES!!!!!!!!

nellyp007
nellyp007

to shunsleezy TNA is already being held by Midway games so I doubt that the licence will go to THQ if they lose the WWE one.

madman666
madman666

i don't want EA, they flub every great gaming opportunity just look at Marvel vs. Nemesis and even Madden since they had the exclusive. Their stuff seems like it starts off good, then just falls short. Take it to Ubi

ultimate_zero
ultimate_zero

I wonder how 2k games will do if they were signed.

kells77
kells77

THQ is done, that is what you get for not realsing the game for the company that helped the WWE get into videogames, Sony.

shunsleezy
shunsleezy

Hopefully when the WWE drops THQ, they will sign a contract with TNA and dominate the wrestling game empire.