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Category — Settlements

Take Two Settles with Jack Thompson

Categories: "Inside Baseball"Jack ThompsonSettlementsViolent Game Law Cases

Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release (April 17, 2007)
Text of Amended Answer and Counterclaim (March 28, 2007)
- amended to remove all but one paragraph of the counterclaim
Text of Original Answer and Counterclaim (March 21, 2007)
Text of Complaint (March 13, 2007)

Take-Two and Jack Thompson have settled their GTA IV/Manhunt 2 suit and counter suit. Thompson has agreed:

  1. not to sue or threaten to sue over the sale and distribution of ANY game – not just Manhunt 2 and GTA IV as sought in the original complaint – designed, published, manufactured, distributed or sold by Take-Two, its affiliates, subsidiaries etc.;
  2. not to threaten such suits; and
  3. to communicate with Take-Two only through its lawyers.

However, Thompson will still be free to criticize the content and distribution of such games and to represent third-party plaintiffs in actions against Take-Two, its affiliates, subsidiaries etc. alleging individual harm.

Dale’s Comment: It is odd for a settlement to contain an explicit agreement to limit communication with an opposing party to communication through counsel as the rules of professional conduct in most jurisdictions specifically prohibit lawyers from communicating directly with persons represented by counsel.


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Activision Settles with Two Former Guitar Hero Executives

Categories: Controller CasesCopyright CasesEmployment Law CasesInjunctionsMisc. Contract CasesNon-Compete CasesSettlementsTrade Secret CasesTrademark CasesUnfair Business Practice Casses

In February, Activision launched a new lawsuit against The Ant Commandos (TAC), Reverb Communications and three former Red Octane executives/employees: former executive producer John Tam, brand manager [name removed on request] and hardware group member Jamie Yang. These former executives founded a new company with TAC – Loadstone Entertainment.

Activision has settled with John Tam and [name removed on request]. The two have consented to a permanent injunction restraining the two from:

  • distributing a demo created by TAM incorporating elements of Guitar Hero II;
  • using or disclosing any Activision trade secrets;
  • taking steps to develop drum, guitar or synthesizer-based games for the next year;
  • “working on” a guitar controller for the XBox 360 version of Guitar Hero II for six months after release; and
  • competing against an undisclosed list of peripheral devices for six months after Activision commercially releases them.

The two were also ordered to return all materials relating to Activision’s proprietary information.

As far as I’m aware, no settlement has thus far been reached with Jamie Yang, Reverb or TAC.

Dale’s Comment [written April 26, 2007]: On a personal note, I was one of the lucky one’s to pick up Guitar Hero II for the Xbox 360 on launch day. The local Best Buy had about 100 of them on the morning of the launch. As I understand it, they sold out within hours and, to the date of this writing (owing partially to extreme demand and problems with some versions of the initially released guitar peripheral), I still can’t find them for sale anywhere in Toronto. I would like to purchase a second guitar peripheral. I’m having a blast with this game. As one of the commentators in a recent Joystiq Podcast pointed out, my fingers ache and want to stop playing long before the rest of me does! :)

Sources: GameSpot | Gamasutra | GameIndustry.biz | 1Up.com | CVG | Kotaku

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Sony Finally Settles Rumble Patent Dispute with Immersion

Categories: Controller CasesPatent CasesSettlements

Text of Immersion Patent

Almost a full year after Immersion won an appeal brought by Sony in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, after it lost at trial, and after a year of Sony marketing types insisting that rumble was a last-generation feature that wouldn’t be compatible with its new Sixaxis tilt control scheme, Sony has settled its long-standing patent dispute with Immersion and has licensed Immersion’s patented force feedback technology for use with future “PlayStation format products.”.

Sony will pay Immersion the $82 million previously awarded (Immersion had originally sought $299 million) plus $8.7 million in pre-judgment interest, in addition to compulsory license fees ordered by the District Court that were already paid.” Sony will also pay Immersion royalty/license fees of $1.875 million in each of the next twelve quarters (3 years), beginning in April 2007, totaling $22.5 million, along with other fees and royalties.

Dale’s Comment [April 30, 2007]: This couldn’t have come soon enough for this gamer. Aside from the exorbitant price and the lack of compelling games, a primary reason I haven’t yet purchased a PS3 (and yes, as I write this, PS3s are stacked high in my local Best Buy) is because I don’t want to play games without force feedback. Force feedback is integral to identifying the location of attacking foe and, frankly, rumble adds another sensory input that emerses the player more fully into the game. To my mind, Sony’s decision to release a console without rumble was akin to releasing a console without sound.

Sony has not yet announced or released a controller with rumble. But, on April 19, 2007 Sony released a PS3 firmware upgrade that activated rumble functionality for PS1 and PS2 games played on the PS3. On April 27, Engadget reported that Sony and Immersion were in talks to incorporate rumble within PS3 controllers. It appears we can expect a rumble-enabled PS3 controller sometime soon. There will likely be no PS3 in my household before then. But, the forthcoming Lair and Warhawk games are mighty tempting.

Sources: Gamasutra | Engadget | IGN.com | GameDaily.com | Immersion Press Release

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RedOctane & The Ant Commandos Settle Guitar Hero Controller Dispute

Categories: Controller CasesCopyright CasesProduct PackagingSettlementsTrademark CasesUnfair Business Practice Casses

As expected, on December 22 The Ant Commandos and RedOctane settled their Guitar Hero controller/peripheral suit and countersuit. 1Up.com summarizes the dispute in this amusing way:

Anyway, so RedOctane sued the Ant Commandos, claiming rights infringement on their popular Gibson SG brand of guitar controllers. The Commandos fired back claiming that the SG stepped all over their existing patents on technology for 3-button Guitar Freaks! guitars. Everybody was fingerpointing, it sucked.

While details of the settlement have not been disclosed a representative of Ant Commandos confirmed to GameSpot that its products would continue to be distributed. Jack Black and the Rightous Gods of Rock will be happy with this outcome!

Dale’s Comment: Until I discovered that neither the Ant Commando nor the RedOctane controllers will work with the PS3, one of the primary reasons I wanted to purchase a PS3 was to play Guitar Hero. I had hoped that like most PS2 games, it would be playable on the PS3. Happily, Guitar Hero 2 is coming to the XBox 360 so I won’t need to purchase a PS2 in order to finally play this game.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameSpot | 1UP.com | GameIndustry.biz

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Konami Settles with Roxor – ‘In the Groove’ IP Transfered to Konami

Categories: Patent CasesSettlementsTrademark CasesUnfair Business Practice Casses

It appears Konami won this one. Roxor has agreed to transfer all IP rights in and to In the Grove to Konami.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameSpot | GameIndustry.biz | Yahoo! Games | joystiq | Konami Press Release | Roxor Press Release

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Blizzard/Vivendi Settle WOW Unofficial User Guide DMCA Dispute

Categories: Copyright CasesDMCA-TPM CasesSettlements

Text of Complaint
In an out-of-court settlement, a 24 year old Florida man, Brian Kopp, who claimed last March that he’d been unlawfully blocked from selling copies of his unofficial “World of Warcraft” guide by the Blizzard and Vivendi, can resume his sales on eBay. The settlement does not provide for monetary compensation for Kopp. Blizzard and Vivendi agreed to withdraw their previous take-down notices and to drop their infringement claims. They also agreed to refrain from filing future DMCA take-down notices against the same items Kopp had already disputed through counter-notices. Kopp agreed to retain the book’s disclaimers about its unofficial nature and agreed not to include links or instructions on how to locate ‘cheats’ in the game.

Sources: CNet | Kopp’s Press Release | GameSpot | USA Today | Kotaku | GameDaily.biz | Gamasutra | EuroGamer | GamePolitics.com

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THQ Settles Tetris Rights Dispute

Categories: Misc. Contract CasesPublisher/Developer CasesSettlements

In 2005, THQ sued The Tetris Company, alleging breach of contract, claiming it it had met all the requirements of its deal to have their license agreement renewed until 2007. THQ was previously prevented from releasing a Nintendo DS version of Tetris when Nintendo published the title itself last April. Under the settlement THQ will publish a version of Tetris for the Xbox 360 in Europe and North America. Presumably THQ has no rights to publish Tetris in Japan or for the DS. Tetris was published last year by AQ Interactive on the Xbox 360′s launch date in Japan.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameSpot | EuroGamer | Ferrago | GameIndustry.biz

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Take-Two/Rockstar Settle with FTC over Hot Coffee Mod

Categories: Game RatingsInvestigationsSettlementsSexuality Cases

Text of Consent Agreement
Under a consent agreement, accepted by the FTC in a 5-0 vote, Take-Two and Rockstar Games will be subject to civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation if they violate their agreement to: (i) “clearly and prominently disclose on product packaging and in any promotion or advertisement for electronic games, content relevant to the rating, unless that content had been disclosed sufficiently in prior submissions to the rating authority”; (ii) not misrepresent the rating or content descriptors for an electronic game; and (iii) “establish, implement, and maintain a comprehensive system reasonably designed to ensure that all content in an electronic game is considered and reviewed in preparing submissions to a rating authority.”

Sources: FTC Press Release | Gamasutra | ars technica | joystiq | GameSpot | Next Generation | GameDaily.biz | GamePolitics.com | ars technica | 1Up.com | CNet | San Jose Mercury News | TheStreet.com | CNN

New York Investigation:

LA Civil Suit:

FTC Investigation Related Posts:

Stanhouse Class Action Suit:

Cohen Class Action Suit:

Other Hot Coffee Related Posts:

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Cheatcc.com and Crave Online Media Settle Cheat Codes Dispute

Categories: Copyright CasesSettlements

Davis & Co. report that Cheatcc.com and Crave Online Media have settled their dispute. In a rather novel dispute, Cheatcc had alleged that Crave Online Media had violated its copyright in its user submitted cheat codes. As noted by D&C, this would have been an interesting case to determine whether a court would find that a company has an enforceable compilation copyright or other proprietary claim in information submitted by its users. Details of the dispute have not been released.

Source: Davis & Company LLP

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Electro Source Follows Others and Settles Immersion Suit

Categories: Controller CasesPatent CasesSettlements

Text of Immersion Patent
Following Microsoft, Radica and others, Electro Source, maker of Pelican video games accessories, settles with Immersion. The settlement covers past royalties and related legal costs in the quarter amounting to $250,000.

Sources: Gamasutra | Next Generation | Business Wire | Next Generation | Computer Graphics World | Forbes

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Atari Epic Games, Valve, Sierra, SCEJ, SCEA and Sony Online Entertainment settle with iEntertainment Network for $175,000

Categories: Patent CasesSettlements

Text of Patent
In December 2004 filed a suit against Atari, Epic, Valve, Sierra and multiple divisions of Sony, including Sony Online Entertainment. The complaint referred to an infringement of patent 6,042,477 (method of and system for minimizing the effects of time latency in multiplayer electronic games played on interconnected computers).

Sources: GameDaily.biz | Gamasutra | Next Generation

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Atari, Edmonsdon Settle Unfair Dismissal Claims

Categories: Employment Law CasesSettlements

The settlement follows a claim for unfair dismissal in the UK courts, and ended up in a significant payout of over $4 million, including $2 million in shares, to Edmondson.
Sources: Gamasutra  |  Gamespot

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Atari, Other Parties Settle Major AVG Game Patent ’690 Suit

Categories: Patent CasesSettlements

Text of ’690 Patent
Major U.S. game publisher and developer Atari has released the paperwork surrounding its latest financials, and embedded within the document is significant news on the firm’s $300,000 settlement of the American Video Graphics video game patent lawsuit, a suit which other parties have now apparently settled.

Sources: Gamasutra | Next Generation | GameIndustry.biz | Gamespot | GameDaily.biz

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Yahoo!, Xfire Settle Lawsuit

Categories: Patent CasesSettlements

Yearlong dispute over patents used in Yahoo Messenger settled. Yahoo! had sued Xfire for using in-game friend finding technology that allegedly infringes Yahoo’s Messenger patent 6,699,125.

Sources: GameSpot

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Marvel and NCSoft Settle Character License Dispute

Categories: Character License CasesCopyright CasesSettlementsTrademark Cases

Marvel and NCsoft did not disclose terms of the settlement, but the result appears to allow NCsoft’s games to continue to allow players to create characters without restriction.

Sources: Gamasutra | GameSpot NextGen.biz | 1Up.com | GameDaily | IGN | Houston Chronicle

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Xfire, Yahoo! Near Terms for Patent Dispute Settlement

Categories: Patent CasesSettlements

Pivotal hearing in early December scrapped as parties seek to settle patent infringement lawsuit out of court. Yahoo! had sued Xfire for using in-game friend finding technology that allegedly infringes Yahoo’s Messenger patent 6,699,125.

Sources: GameSpot | TG Daily Reports the Parties have Settled

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Sony Settles PS2 Class Action Suit

Categories: Class Action CasesProduct Liability CasesSettlements

Ruling on infamous “disc read error” issue could give qualifying PS2 owners $25, a free game, free repairs, or a replacement system. Canadian and U.S. courts must approve the settlement before it is finalized.

Sources: Gamespot | Gamasutra

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EA Settles Kirschenbaum Labor Dispute Lawsuit – Hasty Suit Still Pending

Categories: Employment Law CasesSettlements

EA to pay $15.6 million in settlement of claim that workers were improperly classified as exempt from overtime.

Sources: gameindustry.biz | EuroGamer | GameSpot | Next-Gen.biz | 1Up.com | GamaSutra | neoseeker

Activision (Canulti):

Activision (Erimez):

EA (Lender Hasty): EA Programmers

EA (Tam Su):

EA (Kirschenbaum): EA animators, texture artists, and modelers


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Gizmondo Settles Jordan Lawsuit, Raises New Capital

Categories: Misc. Contract CasesSettlementsStruggling Firms

Gizmondo has settled its sponsorship agreement lawsuit with Jordan Grand Prix in an out of court mediation by the payment of $1,500,000 in cash and the issuance of 30,000 shares of the Company’s restricted common stock. Gizmondo had contracted with Jordan to feature Gizmondo advertisements on the side of Formula 1 race cars.

Source: Gamasutra

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‘Vili the Warrior’ Settles with E.A.

Categories: Personality Rights CasesSettlements

Viliami Fehoko (Vili) and E.A. have settled Fehoko’s earlier claim of using his character without compensation in E.A.’s NCAA Football 06 for an undisclosed amount of money, and the game will continue to be sold with Vili the Warrior in it.

Source: Game Politics | KHON2

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Namco, Sony Music Settle Over Pac-Man Samples

Categories: Copyright CasesMusic/Audio CasesSettlements

Namco America and Sony BMG Music Entertainment have announced that the companies have settled a complaint filed by Namco alleging that sounds from its video game Pac-Man were used in the song of a Sony BMG artist. Namco’s complaint alleged that the sampled portions were not cleared. The terms of the settlement were not revealed.

Sources: Gamasutra | Gamespot | AllHipHop.com’s Earlier Sept 24, 2004 Report on Lawsuit

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Tecmo’s Nude Volleyball Lawsuit is More Dead than Alive

Categories: DMCA-TPM CasesModding CasesSettlements

NinjaHacker.net reportedly settled with Tecmo. The case was dismissed, with leave to reinstate if the settlement is not finalized.

Sources: ars technica | Gamasutra | Wired

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Valve & Vivendi Universal Settle Distribution Dispute

Categories: Distribution Agmt CasesPublisher/Developer CasesSettlements

The settlement provides for a complete severing of the publisher/developer link. Under VU Games is required to cease distribution of Valve’s games – up to and including Half-Life 2, and Valve properties developed by other companies, such as Counter-Strike Condition Zero – on August 31st.

Sources: GameIndustry.biz | Gamasutra | ign.com | Gamespot | ars technica | Yahoo! Games | Wikipedia | Mega Games | Valve Press Release

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Activision, Viacom Settle Star Trek License Lawsuit

Categories: Licensed Game CasesPolice ActionsSettlements

Activision and licensor Viacom jointly announcing that they have reached an agreement regarding the future of the Star Trek video game license. The terms of the settlement were kept confidential but both parties say they intend to work together on future projects.

[Jan 25, 2006 Update: They didn't! They went their separate ways when Bethesda acquired the Star Trek License.]

Sources: Gamasutra | Variety | GameIndustry.biz | PR Newswire | GameSpot | GameDaily | GamingReport | IGN | MSNBC

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Creative Puts Aureal Out of its Misery

Categories: Patent CasesSettlementsStruggling Firms