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Bethesda Sues Interplay Over Fallout Game

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 33 comments
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On September 9, Bethesda Softworks filed a complaint against Fallout's original developer Interplay in the U.S. District Court of Maryland. The complaint, as stated by Gamesatura, is requesting a preliminary and permanent injunction against Interplay's manufacturing, sale and distribution of Fallout Trilogy. Although Interplay is permitted to sell the three classics included in the bundle--Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout tactics--the company was required to "submit to Bethesda all relevant packaging, advertising, and promotional material prior to bringing the catalog titles to market."

Bethesda is now accusing Interplay of trademark infringement, claiming that the company never approached Bethesda for pre-approval for the materials used in the Fallout Trilogy package. Bethesda said that consumers will now be confused between Interplay's classic PC games and Bethesda's snazzier and meatier Fallout 3. While this may sound insulting to PC gamers worldwide, the company is looking to avoid confusion for consumers overall.

Thanks to Interplay's Trilogy, Bethesda is also taking substantial damage, although no sword or other weapon was involved. According to the company, Interplay crossed the line when it signed licensing agreements with online retail outlets such as Steam, GameTap, GOG.com and more. Apparently, these actions have caused the studio "immediate, substantial, and irreparable harm."

With its feelings hurt, Bethesda now wants to cut its trademark licensing ties with Interplay altogether, and is now asking the court to divorce the happy couple by terminating the agreement. Ultimately Bethesda has filed two counts of breach of contract, trademark infringement, and unfair competition. In addition to halting the manufacturing, sale and distribution of older Fallout titles and to terminate the trademark licensing agreement, Bethesda wants Interplay to fork over cash for damages and legal fees. Healing potions just don't work in the real world.

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  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , September 14, 2009 10:50 PM
    Bethesda, your boots are getting a little big. If it wasn't for Interplay, you wouldn't even have a Fallout 3. You should be working positively with Interplay instead of trying to put them out of business.
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  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , September 14, 2009 10:50 PM
    Bethesda, your boots are getting a little big. If it wasn't for Interplay, you wouldn't even have a Fallout 3. You should be working positively with Interplay instead of trying to put them out of business.
  • 7 Hide
    Sicundercover , September 14, 2009 10:56 PM
    nismor31Bethesda, your boots are getting a little big. If it wasn't for Interplay, you wouldn't even have a Fallout 3. You should be working positively with Interplay instead of trying to put them out of business.


    Its part of the deal that Interplay signed too. If they didnt want the deal they didnt have to sell. You cant just go make a business deal with someone (because you killed your own franchise) and then turn around and break it at your convince when it suits you (when the buyer rebuilds your franchise bigger then it was).

    Bethesda is completely in the right here. Interplay screwed up their franchise and Bethesda doesnt want them screwing it up again now that they have rebuilt it bigger then it was before.
  • 5 Hide
    chriskrum , September 14, 2009 11:00 PM
    So they're upset that they didn't get to approve the packaging on a direct download????

    Or they're upset that they didn't approve the advertising of which there's been none?

    Or are they just upset that someone is making a little bit of money off of the original Fallout games, without which Bethesda would have nada.

    What a sad company. They're worried about competition from an eight year old title.
  • 8 Hide
    chriskrum , September 14, 2009 11:23 PM
    People seem to be missing the fine points here:

    1. Interplay has the right to sell the first trilogy.

    2. Bethesda has the right to approve packaging and advertising to protect it's trademark.

    3. Interplay is selling the Fallout trilogy as electronic downloads. No packaging. No advertising.

    Basically it looks as if the clever people at Bethesda thought that they'd be able to prevent the first games from being sold because they could always refuse to approve the packaging, etc on trademark gounds. Interplay instead went with an all electronic media, thus doing an end run around Bethesda's shenanigans.

    I don't think Bethesda is on very solid ground with their suit. That's why the patently ridiculous claims of grave damage to their trademark are being made. They're throwing everything at the wall hoping something sticks.
  • 5 Hide
    pwndcake , September 14, 2009 11:30 PM
    kami3kAnd also Interplay was selling the Trilogy, really that's two things they did wrong. One of them simply breaking a contract, but then they go and sell a game they didn't have rights too. Again, stfu with the whining.


    The trilogy is Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout tactics. They weren't selling a game they didn't have rights to.

    So STFU with your whining.
  • 3 Hide
    Mrbumbum , September 14, 2009 11:56 PM
    Bethesda is full of morons, at least technical support hotlines.

    When I bought Fallout 3 for PC the game kept crashing once I clicked the launcher. This happened repeatedly and I tried numerous things such as: making sure everything was updated (which it was), reinstalling and installing on a different hard drive.

    I finally decided to call tech support, who had me do dxdiag. I read off my specs and when I got to my processor which was E6550 @ 2.33ghz the tech support stopped me there and said that was my issue. She said the game required a 2.4ghz processor and that I did not meet the minimum requirements.

    In order to fix my problem according to them I had to UPGRADE to a Pentium 4 2.4ghz from my E6550 to run their game…….

    I even emailed them and asked for someone higher up the corporate ladder and he riddled me off the same poor excuse.

    Turns out one of the files on my install disc was corrupted so I borrowed a friends DVD and fixed it right away. The game ran on max at 1680 x 1050 with average of 45fps. Boy I wish I would have upgraded to that Pentium 4, then my frame rate would really be through the roof.

    Bethesda I hope your case is thrown out and that you’re sued for a frivolous lawsuit.
  • 2 Hide
    indigoataxia , September 15, 2009 12:03 AM
    Quote:
    3. Interplay is selling the Fallout trilogy as electronic downloads. No packaging. No advertising.

    Actually they also have packaged stock at local retailers. Walmart started carring it a few weeks ago.
  • 3 Hide
    Blessedman , September 15, 2009 12:11 AM
    I think that Bethesda is worried that the consumer will have a hard time telling the difference between Fallout Trilogy and Fallout 3. Which is a legitimate concern.
  • -2 Hide
    doomtomb , September 15, 2009 12:23 AM
    BlessedmanI think that Bethesda is worried that the consumer will have a hard time telling the difference between Fallout Trilogy and Fallout 3. Which is a legitimate concern.

    I agree because the logos look the same to me. And there's been so many other add-on packs to Fallout 3 I don't even bother with them because I don't know what I'm getting into.

    I still feel that Interplay isn't doing anything wrong, they are re-packaging their original games but the packaging and advertisement is misleading. Besthesda's reply to this seems extremely harsh and savage and that it has taken more than just this incident to make them fly off the handle.
  • 0 Hide
    anamaniac , September 15, 2009 12:38 AM
    what the hell do they have to whine about, Bethesda got a famous name and a kick ass game that was able to make a MASSIVE profit, and if the water-logger Interplay company sells their wares from a while back, then that should increase sales by bringing up new speculations and ideas. Interplays fallouts were and are different games, and older, so they are only in retro demand, so the hardcore fans of fallout will storm to it, but sales of fallout 3 are nothing to whine about.
  • -6 Hide
    dingumf , September 15, 2009 1:28 AM
    MrbumbumBethesda is full of morons, at least technical support hotlines. When I bought Fallout 3 for PC the game kept crashing once I clicked the launcher. This happened repeatedly and I tried numerous things such as: making sure everything was updated (which it was), reinstalling and installing on a different hard drive. I finally decided to call tech support, who had me do dxdiag. I read off my specs and when I got to my processor which was E6550 @ 2.33ghz the tech support stopped me there and said that was my issue. She said the game required a 2.4ghz processor and that I did not meet the minimum requirements. In order to fix my problem according to them I had to UPGRADE to a Pentium 4 2.4ghz from my E6550 to run their game…….I even emailed them and asked for someone higher up the corporate ladder and he riddled me off the same poor excuse. Turns out one of the files on my install disc was corrupted so I borrowed a friends DVD and fixed it right away. The game ran on max at 1680 x 1050 with average of 45fps. Boy I wish I would have upgraded to that Pentium 4, then my frame rate would really be through the roof. Bethesda I hope your case is thrown out and that you’re sued for a frivolous lawsuit.


    pics or it never happened
  • 1 Hide
    shqtth , September 15, 2009 2:18 AM
    hmmm I can see the problem, still somehing should be put on the trilogy packaging to make things more clear, that is why Bethesda should review the packaging. A lot of preople would buy a trilogy thinking its v1,2,3, (aka parents, grandparents) and it would hurt fallout 3 sales.

    wtf, how can a trilogy contain a tatics game? Not really a trilogy since fallout 3 is out.
  • -1 Hide
    Mrbumbum , September 15, 2009 3:15 AM
    dingumfpics or it never happened


  • 0 Hide
    chriskrum , September 15, 2009 3:29 AM
    I'd like to amend my comment. I have not seen the retail package, but if it does exist then Interplay has crossed a line and are rightfully in trouble. Bethesda does have an interest in making sure that a box labeled as a trilogy does not get confused with Fallout 3.
  • -1 Hide
    esquire468 , September 15, 2009 5:12 AM
    chriskrumI'd like to amend my comment. I have not seen the retail package, but if it does exist then Interplay has crossed a line and are rightfully in trouble. Bethesda does have an interest in making sure that a box labeled as a trilogy does not get confused with Fallout 3.


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832136011&cm_re=fallout-_-32-136-011-_-Product

    Doesn't look too confusing to me. The only thing I might have suggested is referring to it as "Fallout Classic Trilogy".

    The game is available retail at Best Buy and Micro Center. I've seen them at both.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2009 5:29 AM
    i've played the entire Fallout series, starting with 1. when i read Trilogy, i immediately thought 1, 2, 3, not 1, 2, Tactics. to someone buying this product on the basis of 'that Fallout game my friends have been telling me about'--easy mistake.

    i think Bethesda has a legitimate concern. the 'rest' of it sounds harsh because it's typical lawyer-speak: threaten-gimme-threaten.

    both these companies make or made high-quality games. go spew propaganda hatred elsewhere, or at the fact at yet ANOTHER invasion of lawyerdom into our hobby. all this does is force companies to hire a larger legal department and a smaller programming one--a lesson Interplay learned the hard way in the early 2000s.
  • 0 Hide
    spongebob , September 15, 2009 6:16 AM
    esquire468http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-ProductDoesn't look too confusing to me. The only thing I might have suggested is referring to it as "Fallout Classic Trilogy".The game is available retail at Best Buy and Micro Center. I've seen them at both.

    Did some surfing around looking for Fallout Trilogy Artwork. The one thing I noticed on the artwork I found was the prominent placement of the Interplay logo, and the rather conspicuous absence of a Bethesda logo. Bethesda's only mentioned in the legal copy on the back. That might be taken to be something of a slap on the face.
  • 2 Hide
    spongebob , September 15, 2009 6:23 AM
    esquire468Doesn't look too confusing to me.
    Nor to me. But have a look at the reviews on that New Egg page you linked. Of the 12 reviews, I believe 3 people were whining about FO3 not being included - one even called the packaging intentionally deceptive.
  • 0 Hide
    RazberyBandit , September 15, 2009 9:39 AM
    Bethesda has a point. Fallout is an OLD game, and calling this 3-pack a trilogy can be misleading for the uninformed buyer. Why they need to sue them over this is beyond me, but obviously they feel they have legitimate reason to do so. While they're at it, they should sue for the rights to complete development of what was supposed to be the original Fallout3, which was codenamed "Van Buren." That game showed promise, but was canned.

    All that aside, I want to know is if this is going to have a direct impact on the release of the Fallout3 GoTY edition, or not. I couldn't care any less why they're doing it. I just want hard-copies of the game and DLC add-ons.
  • -2 Hide
    Andraxxus , September 15, 2009 9:59 AM
    Shame on you Bethesda you got a lot of money thanks to Interplay.
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