Gearbox Software has filed a lawsuit against publisher 3D Realms, alleging trademark and copyright infringement, unfair competition and breach of contract regarding the use of the Duke Nukem intellectual property (thanks Polygon
No new Duke Nukem game has even been announced at this point, but a teaser website alloutofgum.com
has been counting down to a February 25 reveal of a game that a previous slip up
indicated was an action RPG titled Duke Nukem Mass Destruction, from Interceptor Entertainment, the Danish indie studio behind the recent Rise of the Triad remake.
Details from the suit, filed by Gearbox in a Northern District of Texas Court describe Gearbox's perceived ownership of the franchise rights, acquired when it purchased troubled Duke Nukem Forever in 2010.
Recently — and without consulting the Duke IP's actual owner, Gearbox — Interceptor announced its intent to develop a Duke Nukem game based upon the various characters, content and intellectual property owned by Gearbox; the proposed game is entitled "Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction." Apparently, after selling its Duke Nukem IP rights to Gearbox in 2010, 3DR sought to privately convince others that the sale never happened. The result is the unauthorized development effort that reportedly exists between 3DR and Interceptor.
By attempting to license the unlicensable, assign the unassignable, and effectively re-sell the exclusive rights that Gearbox already purchased in 2010, 3DR breached the terms of its APA with Gearbox, as well as Gearbox's exclusive, federally-protected intellectual property rights. Unfortunately, the 3DR-Interceptor maneuver has left Gearbox with little choice but to bring these claims.
The complaint also describes a cease and desist letter sent by Gearbox to 3DR on February 13, which was allegedly signed and acknowledged, and yet puzzlingly the teaser site remains. At the time of posting, the alloutofgum site is showing an "Emergency Broadcast System" image obscuring the countdown, with the sounds of sirens and gunfire playing on loop.
This latest development comes after 3D Realms had attempted to sue Gearbox for alleged unpaid Duke Nukem Forever Royalties, which it later withdrew and explained as a misunderstanding of the agreement.