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Bethesda sues Interplay over Fallout trademark

Bethesda sues Interplay over Fallout trademark

Bethesda is now suing Interplay, original owner of the Fallout license, over trademark infringement.

Bethesda Softworks has filed a lawsuit against Interplay, alleging trademark infringement and general shenanigans over the Fallout license. If successful, the suit would terminate Interplay's right to make a Fallout MMO.

To clarify some of the complex backstory first, Interplay were the original publishers of the Fallout games and published Fallout 1, 2, Tactics and Brotherhood of Steel before falling on hard times and selling all the rights to Bethesda Softworks. Bethesda then made Fallout 3 and licensed back to Interplay the option to make a Fallout MMO under certain conditions.

Bethesda's core complaint is over Interplay's attempts to re-release the older Fallout games without seeking approval from Bethesda. The main issue is with Interplay publishing a bundle called The Fallout Trilogy, which contains Fallout 1, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics - apparently ignoring the fact that Fallout is not a trilogy and deliberately titled to suggest otherwise. Bethesda alleges that the Fallout Trilogy title is confusingly similar to Fallout 3 and may affect sales.

Bethesda also complains about Interplay licensing the first Fallout games to systems like Steam and GoodOldGames.com without seeking approval, as well as the release of other bundles of earlier games. As well as the Fallout Trilogy bundle Interplay has created Fallout Collection and Saga Fallout bundles.

Bethesda is also following up on previous threats to terminate the MMO option specifically, saying that Interplay has not met certain conditions of the deal - such as securing proper funding and meeting certain development deadlines.

Is this a case of corporate bullying, or a legitimate complaint on Bethesda's part? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

22 Comments

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DragunovHUN 14th September 2009, 14:06 Quote
Quote:
Bethesda also complains about Interplay licensing the first Fallout games to systems like Steam and GoodOldGames.com without seeking approval, as well as the release of other bundles of earlier games.

DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH THOSE, BETHESDA! I'M WARNING YOU!
Bauul 14th September 2009, 14:16 Quote
I can understand Beth's complaint. Interplay don't own the rights to Fallout anymore, they can't go releasing new packages without consulting Beth first. It'd be like me selling you my car, and then going dirving it off without your permission.
Zurechial 14th September 2009, 15:13 Quote
******s. Jump in a vat, Bethesda.
Cousteau 14th September 2009, 15:22 Quote
i agree with Bauul on this... Interplay sold the rights to Bethesda, therefore Bethesda are the rightful owners to distribute said licenses, no Interplay. Sure, Interplay may have made the games and still own the core code etc, but Bethesda own ALL rights to licensing and distribution of the old games - it's Interplay trying to gain some revenue back and therefore should have made a new deal with Bethesda before plying off their wares to steam etc knowing full well it was jumping on the bandwagon over Bethesda's own release of Fallout 3...

it's Interplay's own fault for not seeking permission first...

and to ply another comparison, it's like you being a music artist, selling your music to a record label who then own the full distribution and licensing rights (with royalties paid to the original artist) and then the original artist trying to flog the same album(s) on CDs distributed by themselves and not the record label they signed over to
DragunovHUN 14th September 2009, 15:30 Quote
^Yeah yeah whatever, that is obviously the case but that's not the point that matters.

The point is that Bethesda could, and most likely will end up pulling these packages and that means no more Fallout because THEY sure as hell don't want to re-release any of the old games.

I don't know about you guys but i'm off to get the NoDRM version from GOG while i still can.
salesman 14th September 2009, 16:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DragunovHUN

The point is that Bethesda could, and most likely will end up pulling these packages and that means no more Fallout because THEY sure as hell don't want to re-release any of the old games.
.

I really don't believe that is going to happen. Although I am not Bethesda neither do I work in the business, but this is fallout and I imagine some way or another it will find it's way into the hands of those wanting to play it.
DragunovHUN 14th September 2009, 16:18 Quote
If Bethesda cared for the old Fallout games, they would have released that bundle long ago. I think they're quite happy with just selling their own Fallout 3 expansion packs.
Paradigm Shifter 14th September 2009, 16:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
I can understand Beth's complaint. Interplay don't own the rights to Fallout anymore, they can't go releasing new packages without consulting Beth first. It'd be like me selling you my car, and then going dirving it off without your permission.

Yeah. However, Interplay were selling "The Fallout Collection" long before Bethesda bought the rights. I can see why Bethsoft would get in such a tizzy about a 'Fallout Trilogy' though.
Kiytan 14th September 2009, 16:56 Quote
I have to side with bethesda on this one, It's really not very clever of interplay to go publishing things they don't have the right to anymore. I'm sure some type of deal could have been brokered with bethesda.

Calling it a trilogy as well is very misleading. Overall not a very good move on interplays part
Red 5 14th September 2009, 18:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe in the article
Bethesda alleges that the Fallout Trilogy title is confusingly similar to Fallout 3 and may affect sales.

Oh man, so true! I can't tell you how confused I was by the titling of Alien Cubed. Why cubed? It seemed to have little or no continuity from Alien either, almost as if there was something missing in between, but I've checked everywhere and there definitely isn't an Alien 2.

Cabe6403 14th September 2009, 19:45 Quote
It seems to me that this is Bethesda trying to take 100% control of the Fallout brand. At the moment it seems that interplay still hold a chunk of it, and Bethesda want that chunk.
SMIFFYDUDE 14th September 2009, 20:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
I can understand Beth's complaint. Interplay don't own the rights to Fallout anymore, they can't go releasing new packages without consulting Beth first. It'd be like me selling you my car, and then going dirving it off without your permission.

Why do all the metaphors and similes used on this forum always involve cars or the car industry
eternum 14th September 2009, 20:47 Quote
They DO have complete control of it - they BOUGHT it. The only chunk that Interplay has is very specific (MMO) and only allowed to them conditionally. Bethesda has every right to litigate this - it just isn't terribly kind to gamers if they pull the games. And it was completely stupid for Interplay to try to sell the games that they no longer own the license for. If they had sought approval from Bethesda like they were supposed to, I'd be willing to bet they'd have said yes in exchange for a cut of the profits.
Red 5 14th September 2009, 21:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
Why do all the metaphors and similes used on this forum always involve cars or the car industry

Because most of us are men. There's typically only two options, or at least two that spring immediately to mind.
Quote:
It'd be like me selling you my wife, and then getting her off without your permission.

See?
BLC 15th September 2009, 10:45 Quote
I think there's a little bit of misty-eyed nostalgia going on when it comes to Fallout - there are many, many die-hard Fallout fans who believe that Bethesda ruined the franchise, and thus do not want Bethesda's greasy mitts all over the original games. As already stated however, Bethesda now owns Fallout - Interplay were only licensed for the MMO - so Interplay can't go re-releasing or re-packaging the older games. It's simply not theirs any more.

I loved the original Fallout games, but I also think that Bethesda did a good job with Fallout 3. They did take away a lot of the appeal and charm of the older games (such as the black humour), but they have made a great game. FO3 feels much more bleak and barren, more like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. When you have to wander round the wastes for days to reach locations it's so much more immersive; you can see all the ruined cities & buildings in the distance, watch the landscape roll by... hopping in the car and watching a dot move round a map feels much more disconnected. (Granted it's only made possible with the better technology that we now have).

I think that, if it had been left to Interplay, they would have had another Duke Nukem Forever on their hands. They would have nurtured their baby endlessly, caring more about how to keep the next game true to the originals than actually getting a good game out the door.
xaser04 15th September 2009, 11:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
I think there's a little bit of misty-eyed nostalgia going on when it comes to Fallout - there are many, many die-hard Fallout fans who believe that Bethesda ruined the franchise, and thus do not want Bethesda's greasy mitts all over the original games. As already stated however, Bethesda now owns Fallout - Interplay were only licensed for the MMO - so Interplay can't go re-releasing or re-packaging the older games. It's simply not theirs any more.

I loved the original Fallout games, but I also think that Bethesda did a good job with Fallout 3. They did take away a lot of the appeal and charm of the older games (such as the black humour), but they have made a great game. FO3 feels much more bleak and barren, more like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. When you have to wander round the wastes for days to reach locations it's so much more immersive; you can see all the ruined cities & buildings in the distance, watch the landscape roll by... hopping in the car and watching a dot move round a map feels much more disconnected. (Granted it's only made possible with the better technology that we now have).

I think that, if it had been left to Interplay, they would have had another Duke Nukem 3D on their hands. They would have nurtured their baby endlessly, caring more about how to keep the next game true to the originals than actually getting a good game out the door.

Excellent post.
BLC 15th September 2009, 12:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by xaser04
Excellent post.

Thank you - I aim to please...

Although I just noticed that I wrote Duke Nukem 3D, when I meant Duke Nukem Forever.... Ooops! :D
xaser04 15th September 2009, 14:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLC
Quote:
Originally Posted by xaser04
Excellent post.

Thank you - I aim to please...

Although I just noticed that I wrote Duke Nukem 3D, when I meant Duke Nukem Forever.... Ooops! :D

Strangely I knew what you meant. Although it has been a long day (only lunch time!) and I have an afternoon of complex FX Swap modeling to work through....... YAY ........
cjmUK 15th September 2009, 17:31 Quote
We're so used to stories of big publishers chasing every dime and screwing customers, employees and competitors when the whim takes them.... but I'm with Bethesda on this one.

They bought the brand, so they choose its direction. They aren't going to be against Interplay making more money (though I don't think there will be much) out of the older games - providing a) it doesn't complicate Bethesda's FO3 program and b) they get a suitable (small) slice of this (small) pie.

I don't blame interplay for wanting to cash in on the success of Bethesda's FO3, but rules is rules and they seem to have broke them.
D-Cyph3r 15th September 2009, 20:48 Quote
Interplay should sue Bethesda for making a mockery of the Fallout name.... real time first person shooting?! Are you f****ng sure?!
impar 15th September 2009, 23:12 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Cyph3r
Interplay should sue Bethesda for making a mockery of the Fallout name.... real time first person shooting?!
If Fallout 3 was a FPS...
BLC 16th September 2009, 07:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Cyph3r
Interplay should sue Bethesda for making a mockery of the Fallout name.... real time first person shooting?! Are you f****ng sure?!

This was exactly my point.
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