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Gearbox suing 3D Realms over Duke Nukem

by William Schwartz

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Gearbox and 3D Realms, the two companies behind the oft-delayed, heavily criticized Duke Nukem Forever, are now duking it out in the courtroom yet again, this time over the Duke Nukem game that was teased earlier this month  for PlayStation 4 and PC.

According to Gearbox, the game, Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, was being developed by 3D Realms and published by Interceptor Entertainment without Gearbox’s knowledge or permission. The lawsuit claims, “Apparently, after selling its Duke Nukem IP rights to Gearbox in 2010, [3D Realms] sought to privately convince others that the sale never happened.”

It also says 3D Realms and Interceptor “colluded to misappropriate and make infringing use of the Duke Nukem trademarks and copyrights owned by Gearbox.”

The lawsuit then hammers just how “famously incapable” 3D Realms was with Duke Nukem Forever, saying that the code Gearbox acquired was “sorely deficient,” also describing it as “a technological jigsaw puzzle of a video game.” Probably the most stinging was: “The mountain of problems subsequently uncovered by Gearbox cannot be captured in this single pleading.”

As the lawsuit also notes, Gearbox’s acquisition of the Duke Nukem IP bailed out 3D Realms of an impending lawsuit by Take Two Interactive over the amout of money spent on development of the game. Interesting enough, the lawsuit also has an apology issued by 3D Realms over the usage of the Duke Nukem IP, with co-founders Scott Miller and George Broussard saying:

“I apologize to Gearbox for the infringement and breach represented by my efforts. I acknowledge that 3DR’s actions, which were taken at 3DR’s behest, constitute a material breach of the Duke IP terms that cause irreparable harm to Gearbox and its Duke IP rights. By willfully and materially breaching the [asset purchase agreement] and related Duke IP Terms, I agree that Gearbox is entitled to all legal and equitable remedies against [3D Realms].” The declaration, dated February 16, is made “with sincere apologies for my actions.”

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