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Gearbox Sues 3D Realms Over Duke Nukem Rights

The recent Duke Nukem announcement tease is causing trouble, as Gearbox Software is suing 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment for IP infringement over unauthorized use of their Duke property. This will not be the first legal action following the sale of the Duke property to Gearbox, as 3D Realms previously sued Gearbox over unpaid royalties, though this lawsuit was later dropped. The new suit is over Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, a new project which has yet to be officially announced on its teaser website, though a Facebook page outs this as "an isometric action role-playing game for PC and PlayStation 4, by Interceptor." This complaint outlines Gearbox's legal case here, which includes a passage saying "'No good deed goes unpunished.' 3DR’s actions illustrate the point, given the exceptional amount of support that Gearbox extended to 3DR, its ownership, and the Duke Nukem franchise that Gearbox must protect'." Here's more:

7. This case stems from efforts to illegally exploit Gearbox’s intellectual property rights in the Duke Nukem video game franchise. Specifically, Defendants Interceptor and 3DR have colluded to misappropriate and make infringing use of the Duke Nukem trademarks and copyrights owned by Gearbox. Gearbox secured its rights on February 2, 2010, upon the execution of an Asset Purchase Agreement (“APA”) in which 3DR transferred, with certain very limited exceptions, all Duke Nukem intellectual property (“Duke IP”) to Gearbox. The APA also specifically required 3DR or its licensees to seek the permission of Gearbox before making use of the Duke Nukem marks after February 2, 2010.

8. 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. 9.

9. 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.

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