Case Update 05/24/2012:
In August of 2011, Hasbro and Atari released that they had reached a settlement regarding the intellectual property rights in Dungeons & Dragons. Hasbro has reacquired digital licensing rights to the franchise while licensing these rights to Atari.
This case is still making its way through the court system. On June 28, 2011, Atari’s motion to have the case dismissed was denied. In it’s motion Atari argued that Hasbro could not prove its fraud claims since it did not actually or justifiably rely on statements from Atari regarding licensing of D&D to third parties. Atari’s motion also accused Hasbro of “attempting to manufacture a non-existent [fraud] claim out of thin air.” The court was apparently not convinced by this argument as it has allowed the case to continue.
Earlier this week, Hasbro, which owns the intellectual property rights in Dungeons & Dragons, filed a lawsuit against Atari over Atari’s allegedly unauthorized sublicensing of its rights in Dungeons & Dragons to Namco Bandai, one of Hasbro’s major competitors.
According to Hasbro’s complaint, which was filed on Wednesday in federal district court in Rhode Island, Hasbro first entered into a license agreement with Atari in 2000 in which Hasbro granted Atari the exclusive rights to make, market, distribute, provide customer support, and sublicense (with Hasbro’s approval) digital game rights in Dungeons & Dragons.
Earlier this year, however, Atari allegedly sold its European distribution rights to Namco Bandai, which according to Hasbro’s complaint is the third largest toy and game manufacturer in the world behind Mattel and Hasbro.
In this lawsuit against Atari, Hasbro is arguing that Atari breached its license agreement with Hasbro in sharing confidential information related to Dungeons and Dragons with Namco Bandai. For this alleged breach, Hasbro seeks a declaration from the court that Hasbro may terminate immediately its Dungeons & Dragons license agreement with Atari, as well as an injunction against Atari and money damages.
The case is Hasbro, Inc. v. Infogrames Entertainment S.A. a/k/a Atari, S.A., case number CA09-610ML, and it was filed on December 16, 2009, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.
We will continue to follow this case.