Fallout over 'Bethesda v. Interplay' remains unsettled

Unofficial Fallout community wiki the Vault has posted snippets and analysis of another batch of court documents, courtesy of site founder Paweł Dembowski (posting as Ausir), in the legal battle between Bethesda and Interplay over the latter's licensed, in-development Fallout Online MMO and rights to distribute pre-Fallout 3 titles from the franchise. If the absence of recent developments in the suit had you wondering if the two sides had settled cordially, forget about it. The excerpts are most certainly lacking in holiday spirit, as the fiery debate appears to wage on.

According to the Vault, highlights from the new documents show Bethesda, which is the current Fallout IP owner, defending against Interplay's claims that it had denied the MMO developer rights to use "Fallout-related intellectual property assets." Bethesda maintains that it had licensed back to Interplay (the original IP owner) rights to the Fallout name only and not art assets, including the series' (literally) trademark Pip-Boy.

In a separate document, Bethesda took to the offensive, demanding Interplay hand over the contents of its internal Fallout Online design wiki as court evidence. Interplay objected, calling the wiki a "trade secret document" and suggested Bethesda had repeatedly turned down offers to "inspect" the wiki outside of the courtroom.

Interplay seems to have little choice but to fight on, even as it operated at a $205,000 loss in its June–September fiscal quarter. As Gamer/Law points out, the company is caught in a deadly gamble: Its future is dependant on completing Fallout Online for a planned 2012 release -- if the project doesn't get shut down by the courts first.

On the bright side, Interplay won out in a separate lawsuit earlier this month against TopWare, concerning the latter's infringement upon Interplay's "Battle Chess" trademark.

[Pictured: Fallout Online concept art]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.