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*THQ* has settled a long-standing legal spat with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and toy-maker Jakks Pacific, over the licensing of WWE-branded video games.
THQ (NSDQ: THQI) is paying out just over $33 million as a result of the three-way settlement: $13.2 million up front to WWE, and $20 million to Jakks Pacific over the next four years. The prize in return? A new, 8-year contract with exclusive rights to publish WWE-branded games.
The three companies have been battling over the WWE game franchise since 2004. WWE sued both THQ and Jakks then — as the two were producing WWE-branded games as a JV — but the sports brand alleged that they’d obtained the five-year contract through a “commercial bribery scheme” (via GameSpot).
Earlier this year, THQ sued Jakks over the company’s decision to extend the licensing contract with WWE, albeit without THQ’s input; the WWE pushed back the renewal date of the license agreement to give THQ and Jakks time to work it out between themselves, per Gamasutra.
In the meantime, THQ has continued to release WWE-branded games — to the tune of $1.4 billion in revenue — as of the end of Q309. Likely why it has agreed to pay slightly less than a third of that to get the legal issues surrounding the franchise all squared away, and to get the rights to the IP without interference from Jakks. Release.