Gearbox files suit against 3D Realms and Interceptor over unauthorized use of Duke Nukem license

By Ozzie Mejia, Feb 23, 2014 1:20am PST

Gearbox Software has filed suit against 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment over alleged unauthorized use of the Duke Nukem IP, stemming from a 3DR and Interceptor Duke Nukem title currently in development. Gearbox, owner of the IP since February 2010, seeks a formal injunction against any continued infringement.

A teaser site was established on February 1 with the domain alloutofgum.com, featuring a countdown clock presumably leading to the reveal of a new 3DR and Interceptor Duke Nukem entry called Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction. According to the complaint from Gearbox, the game would have released on February 25, at the conclusion of the site's countdown.

The filed complaint states the following:

Recently — and without consulting the Duke IP's actual owner, Gearbox — Interceptor announced its intent to develop a Duke Nukem game based upon the various characters, content and intellectual property owned by Gearbox; the proposed game is entitled "Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction." Apparently, after selling its Duke Nukem IP rights to Gearbox in 2010, 3DR sought to privately convince others that the sale never happened. The result is the unauthorized development effort that reportedly exists between 3DR and Interceptor.

By attempting to license the unlicensable, assign the unassignable, and effectively re-sell the exclusive rights that Gearbox already purchased in 2010, 3DR breached the terms of its APA with Gearbox, as well as Gearbox's exclusive, federally-protected intellectual property rights. Unfortunately, the 3DR-Interceptor maneuver has left Gearbox with little choice but to bring these claims.

Gearbox had sent a cease and desist letter to 3DR on February 13. 3DR responded with a declaration of admission that Mass Destruction would have been an unauthorized infringement and issued an apology to Gearbox, signed on February 16. However, the Mass Destruction teaser site remained live and was presumably still in line to be released. As of now, the site contains a plastered Emergency Broadcast System image and alert tone, with the countdown no longer visible.

"As the filing shows, 3DR's wrongdoing is both admitted and unfortunate for everyone who cares about Duke Nukem," reads an official statement from Gearbox, in regards to the matter.

3D Realms had previously attempted to sue Gearbox for $1.3 million over Duke Nukem royalties. The suit was later withdrawn voluntarily.

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