We haven’t even officially been told about Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, but it’s already causing major drama. Gearbox Software, developers of Duke Nukem Forever is suing Mass Destruction developers 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment, claiming IP infringement.
The studio’s legal case includes a reference to the concept that “No good deed goes unpunished” – Gearbox extended an “exceptional amount” of support to 3D Realms when it came to Duke Nukem Forever, and now both studios are squabbling over who owns what.
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. 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.