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Fallout Legal Fallout

Gamasutra follows up on previous indications that a legal battle is brewing over the Fallout IP. This is not actually over the rights to create a Fallout MMOG that Interplay retained when they sold the Fallout rights to Bethesda, but rather over recent bundles and other deals concerning the original Fallout games. Bethesda is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against manufacture, sale, and distribution of the Fallout Trilogy, which includes the classic PC games Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics, saying "while Interplay was permitted to sell pre-existing Fallout games, it was required to submit to Bethesda all relevant packaging, advertising, and promotional material prior to bringing the catalog titles to market." Word is:

But Bethesda claimed that Interplay never sought pre-approval for those materials. The plaintiff said because of the alleged trademark infringement, consumers have become confused between the makers of the pre-existing Fallout games and Bethesda's more recent Fallout 3 -- a situation that Bethesda wanted to avoid.

Bethesda also accused Interplay of breaching the trademark agreement by signing licensing agreements with digital distribution sites like Steam, GOG.com, and GameTap to sell older Fallout games. The company claimed Interplay's alleged actions have caused the studio "immediate, substantial, and irreparable harm."

Bethesda is also asking the court for a declaration stating a trademark licensing agreement between the two companies is terminated. In 2007, Bethesda purchased the Fallout franchise from Interplay in full for $5.75 million. Within that purchase agreement was a trademark licensing agreement, the complaint said, that allowed Interplay to license back the rights to develop an MMO based on the Fallout series.

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