Bethesda Softworks has been denied a temporary restraining order against Masthead Studios over its work on Interplay’s Fallout MMO.
Unable to make much headway in its legal effort to regain the rights to make a Fallout-based MMO from Interplay, Bethesda recently trained its sights on a new target: Masthead Games, which signed a deal with Interplay to work on Fallout Online back in April 2009. Bethesda alleged that Interplay “improperly sublicensed” its IP to Masthead and that Masthead, by working on the game, is contributing to the ongoing infringements of its copyrights. The company sought a temporary restraining order against Masthead to halt its work on the project.
But the judge in the case denied the motion, without even hearing an opposing argument from Masthead. He ruled that Bethesda had not demonstrated that it would be “irreparably prejudiced” if it wasn’t granted the restraining order and also pointed out that the company bears some responsibility for “creating the crisis that requires the ex parte relief” in the first place.
“Plaintiff was aware as early as February 2011 that Masthead was potentially infringing its copyrights,” the judge wrote. “Yet, Plaintiff waited seven months to apply for ex parte relief. The court finds that Plaintiff unreasonably delayed in seeking relief, and that the emergency that allegedly justifies a TRO is self-created. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Order and Order to Show Cause Re: Preliminary Injunction is DENIED.”
I like to imagine that the judge heard the Quake 3 Arena announcer’s voice in his head when he wrote that final, all-caps “DENIED.” Bethesda’s legal action against Interplay and its Fallout Online MMO continues.