ZeniMax Media have today announced that the lawsuit between its subsidiary Bethesda Softworks and Interplay Entertainment, Bethesda Softworks LLC v Interplay Entertainment Corp.
, has reached a settlement after filing the lawsuit in 2009.
The outcome from the settlement is that Interplay forfeits all rights to the massively multiplayer online game (MMO) based on the Fallout brand. Bethesda’s main complaint in the lawsuit was that “Interplay had failed to meet the conditions for the license and the license was therefore of no continuing validity”.
With the settlement comes the obvious terms that Interplay’s license to develop the Fallout MMO is null and void and all rights to an MMO are reverted back to Bethesda, effective immediately. What else is interesting is that with the settlement outcome, Interplay now has no ongoing right to use the Fallout brand, or any Fallout intellectual property for anything in game development. In the initial agreement Interplay was permitted to continue selling the original Fallout Tactics and Fallout 2 indefinitely, but those merchandising rights have now been changed to expire on December 31, 2013, meaning once that date is reached all profit will go to Bethesda and Interplay will no longer be able to sell them.
The lawsuit arose after Bethesda Softworks acquired all Fallout material in April 2007 and licensed, back to Interplay, certain trademark rights, provided Interplay secure US$30 million in financing for the MMO and commence development in 2009. This, however, did not happen, and Bethesda alleged that Interplay refused to relinquish the license and insisted they would develop the Fallout MMO. Bethesda filed a lawsuit to declare the license void.
Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of Zenimax, has stated his satisfaction with the outcome, saying “While we strongly believe in the merits of our suits, we are pleased to avoid the distraction and expense of litigation while completely resolving all claims to the Fallout IP. Fallout is an important property of ZeniMax and we are now able to develop future Fallout titles for our fans without third party involvement or the overhang of others' legal claims.”