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Bethesda Denied Restraining Order Against  Fallout  MMO Co-Developer Masthead

Bethesda Denied Restraining Order Against Fallout MMO Co-Developer Masthead

September 23, 2011 | By Mike Rose

A court this week denied Fallout owner Bethesda Softworks' bid for a temporary restraining order against Masthead, co-developer of the embattled Fallout MMO from Interplay.

It's just the latest development in an ongoing legal battle that has Bethesda trying to regain full and complete control of the Fallout intellectual property.

After acquiring the Fallout IP from Interplay in 2007, Bethesda licensed the rights to develop an MMO based on Fallout back to the company, under certain conditions, or else the agreement would be terminated.

Then in 2009, Bethesda sued Interplay for allegedly failing to hold up its end of agreements regarding the company's development of the Fallout MMO, also known as Project V13.

But within months a U.S. District Court judge had denied Bethesda's motion for a preliminary injunction against Interplay.

Bethesda then filed another suit against Interplay and Fallout Online developer Masthead Studios, noting that the company is developing a Fallout MMO, but under an agreement between the two companies, cannot use any assets from the established Fallout universe, such as characters, settings or storylines.

Interplay later called Bethesda's interpretation of the agreement "absurd," noting that Bethesda never objected to the game as it allegedly knew what was intended by Interplay under the agreement.

This week, U.S. District Judge, the Honorable John F. Walter, denied the temporary restraining order requested by Bethesda against Fallout MMO co-developer Masthead, even before Masthead offered up an opposition to Bethesda's request for a temporary restraining order.

"[Bethesda] has not demonstrated that it will be irreparably prejudiced if the requested ex parte
relief is not granted, or that it is without fault in creating the crisis that requires ex parte relief," he argued [via Milford & Associates].

"Indeed, [Bethesda] was aware as early as February 2011 that Masthead was potentially infringing its
copyrights... Yet, Plaintiff waited seven months to apply for ex parte relief."

He concluded, "The Court finds that Plaintiff unreasonably delayed in seeking relief, and that the emergency that allegedly justifies a [temporary restraining order] is self-created."

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