Yet another reason for game publishers to read the fine print in the content licensing deals they sign. Toy-maker Hasbro is suing Atari over allegations that Atari entered into an “unauthorized sublicensing relationship” with Namco Bandai for the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) games.
Hasbro subsidiary Wizards of the Coast owns the D&D franchise; Atari has licensed the digital game rights since 2000. Atari, which has been in the process of rebuilding its once-prolific games business, sold its European arm to Namco Bandai in May. Hasbro is arguing that the sale, and subsequent distribution of D&D titles by Namco Bandai — a “competitor for both Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro” — was a violation of its original contract with Atari.
Hasbro also alleges that Atari was misleading about the terms of the sale to Namco Bandai from the onset, per Forbes; it’s suing for damages and termination of the licensing agreement.
Both parties say that they’ve tried to come to terms over the allegations out of court: “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,” said Wizards of the Coast president Greg Leeds, in a statement.
From Atari: “Atari has [invested] millions of dollars into numerous critically acclaimed and commercially successful [D&D] games that have generated significant revenue for Hasbro. 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.” Release.