Hasbro suing Atari over alleged breach in D&D licensing agreement

It seems the Dungeons & Dragons franchise has brought more legal troubles upon Atari than it's probably worth. In August, Turbine Entertainment, developer of the MMO based on the tabletop game, sued the publisher for failing to "devote the necessary resources" to promoting and distributing the online RPG. Now, Hasbro, owner of subsidiary company Wizards of the Coast, which is the current owner of the D&D franchise, is suing Atari for allegedly breaching a licensing agreement the two parties struck up concerning Atari's use of the popular role-playing brand.

Hasbro's main complaint in the suit is that Atari might have taken part in an "unauthorized sublicensing relationship" with Namco Bandai during the latter's purchase of Atari's European distribution company this past March. According to the suit, Namco Bandai is a direct competitor to Hasbro and Wizards, and allowing them any access to the D&D license is a violation of the contract agreed to by Atari. Hasbro seeks compensatory damages, and also to terminate the allegedly violated licensing agreement, denying Atari further access to the brand.

In a press release statement, Wizards of the Coast president Greg Leeds said, "while unfortunate that we had to take this action, it is crucial for us to protect the Dungeons & Dragons brand." Leeds later added, "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."

Atari isn't taking these complaints lying down -- the publisher just distributed its own statement through PRNewswire, claiming, "Hasbro has resorted to these meritless allegations, in an apparent attempt to unfairly take back rights granted to Atari." The statement goes on to say, "we regret that our long-time partner has decided to pursue this action. Atari will respond appropriately through its legal counsel in court."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.