Hasbro has sued Atari over allegations that it has committed fraud and breached the terms of its licensing agreement for the Dungeons & Dragons brand.
Wizards of the Coast, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hasbro, learned earlier this year that Atari “may have” sub-licensed the Dungeons & Dragons digital game rights to Namco Bandai Partners, a competitor of both Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast. Such a deal is forbidden under the terms of Atari’s licensing contract.
“While unfortunate that we had to take this action, it is crucial for us to protect the Dungeons & Dragons brand,” said Wizards of the Coast President Greg Leeds. “We have been working for several months now to reach resolution with Atari, and they have left us with no other choice than to pursue legal action.”
But in a response to the lawsuit issued to Kotaku, Atari called the lawsuit “meritless” and claimed that Hasbro is alleging the breach of contract simply so it can take back the rights to the D&D brand. “Atari has had a long and rich history with the Dungeons & Dragons franchise, investing millions of dollars into numerous critically acclaimed and commercially successful games that have generated significant revenue for Hasbro,” the company said. “Hasbro has resorted to these meritless allegations, in an apparent attempt to unfairly take back rights granted to Atari. Atari has sought to resolve the matter without cooperation from Hasbro. We regret that our long-time partner has decided to pursue this action. Atari will respond appropriately through its legal counsel in court.”
Atari signed a ten-year licensing deal with Hasbro in 2007, although given the current legal kerfuffle, that’s now looking rather shaky. It’s also definitely not the sort of headache Atari needs right now: In August, the company was sued by Turbine over another D&D-related dispute relating to the revamped Dungeons & Dragons Online MMOG.
Source: CNN Money