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[Update] Gearbox Sues 3D Realms And Interceptor Over Duke Nukem Title

by Mike Futter on Feb 23, 2014 at 02:01 AM

Update: Interceptor Entertainment has responded to our request for comment. 

"We are aware of the lawsuit against 3D Realms and Interceptor," Interceptor CEO Frederik Schreiber told Game Informer via email. "It’s an unfortunate situation, but we have acted in good faith and are working towards a resolution."


Original Story:

In early February, 3D Realms and Rise of the Triad developer Interceptor Entertainment teased a new Duke Nukem title for PC and PS4. The game, subtitled Mass Destruction, is described as an “isometric action role-playing game” on the official Facebook page. Today, Gearbox Software filed suit on February 21 against the duo for copyright infringement.

Gearbox purchased the rights to Duke Nukem in February 2010 in order to complete the development of Duke Nukem Forever. That title was in development limbo for over a decade before releasing to middling to low critical response.

Gearbox alleges that 3D Realms is attempting to re-license the intellectual property it already sold, and in the process has infringed on Gearbox’s copyright. Gearbox issued a cease and desist letter to 3D Realms and its leadership, founder Scott Miller and Duke Nukem co-creator George Broussard, on February 13. 

A response to that demand was met with an apology and acknowledgement that Gearbox is the only entity with the right to use and/or license the Duke Nukem intellectual property. This is not the first time that Duke Nukem has been at the center of a lawsuit between these parties.

In June 2013, 3D Realms sued Gearbox for breach of contract and failure to fulfill terms of the 2010 asset purchase agreement. That suit was subsequently dropped in September 2013, with an apology issued to Gearbox. 

We’ve reached out to 3D Realms and Interceptor for comment. We’ll update should we receive a response. 

[Source: Gearbox Filing (1), (2), (3)]


Our Take
The chain of events in this case is a bit confusing. After Gearbox issued the cease and desist and 3D Realms acknowledged its violation of the copyright, some of the terms must not have been fulfilled (possibly inclusive of leaving the Facebook page up). 

3D Realms assured Gearbox it would refrain from use of the Duke Nukem intellectual property. Miller and Broussard also agreed that Gearbox is entitled to equitable remedies (which is assumed to include financial remedies). I’m interested to know what happened after the 3D Realms letter of February 16 that pushed Gearbox to file the suit.