Valve Sues Activision-Blizzard

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It’s a legal battle of game industry titans as Valve is suing Activision-Blizzard for money owed from a settlement in a 2002 lawsuit.

If you’ve been around the block or have a good memory for game industry legal catfights, you might remember that in 2002 Valve sued its then-publisher Sierra (owned by Vivendi Games) claiming a breach of contract (or Software Publishing Agreement to use the fancy term) and copyright infringement. The suit was settled in 2005 and Vivendi’s license to publish Valve games was terminated. Some time after, Vivendi merged with Activision to become Activision-Blizzard.

Well, turns out the story isn’t quite over, as Valve filed suit against Activision on April 28, claiming that the company has failed to make good on an agreement to pay Valve an amount decided upon by an arbitrator.

In the 2005 settlement, Activision agreed to submit a final royalty report to Valve, and the parties agreed that an arbitrator would handle the audit process, and that the arbitrator’s decision would be “final and binding,” says the Valve suit.

The arbitrator determined on April 6 this year that Activision owes Valve $2,391,932 including interest. Activision, however, challenged the decision, saying that Valve had been overpaid by $424,136 including interest. Valve alleges that Activision didn’t bring up its claim in the process of arbitration, and, when it was brought up, the arbitrator “refused to consider it because it had not been submitted to the agreed upon audit and dispute process.”

On April 20, Activision paid Valve $1,967,796, exactly $424,136 less than the amount determined by the arbitrator. Furthermore, Valve claims that Activision “represented” to them that they were not planning on paying the rest, and that if Valve made legal action to get it, they’d countersue.

Well, Valve’s gone ahead and taken legal action. Will Activision make good on their alleged threat and bite back?


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