For much of this year, Interplay and Bethesda have been at each other’s throats in a lawsuit over which of them owns the IP in the Fallout series of games (more on that here). Earlier this year, Bethesda tried but failed to secure a preliminary injunction blocking Interplay from doing any further Fallout-related work, including work on Interplay’s rumoured Fallout MMO. This was a severe, but not fatal, blow for Bethesda in the lawsuit.
Then, not much seemed to happen. Until, in June this year, details of a new Fallout MMO began to trickle out. Did this mean they have done a deal? As far as I can see, no formal announcement of the settlement of the lawsuit had been announced.
Now, TVG has spotted that the new Fallout MMO website includes the following text at the bottom of the page:
“Fallout® is a registered trademark of Bethesda Softworks LLC, a ZeniMax Media company, in the U.S. and/or other countries, and is used by Interplay under license from Bethesda Softworks LLC. All Rights Reserved.”
This suggests very strongly indeed that a settlement has in fact been reached, with Interplay acknowledging Bethesda’s ownership (at least in part) of the Fallout IP, in return for which Interplay has been granted a licence to exploit the Fallout IP in relation to the Fallout MMO and possibly beyond.
If so, it’s good to see that Bethesda and Interplay have been able to resolve their differences, but why not make a public announcement to capitalise on the new goodwill? Also, what does this mean in terms of Bethesda’s creative/commercial involvement in Fallout Online – are they involved at all? One would also imagine (and hope) that both sides have had their lawyers go over a new suite of agreements to ensure that the working relationship between them does not break down in the future. Here’s hoping…
Image credit: WikiMedia