Some Ohio residents who are fans of the Duke Nukem games may be aware that yet another legal battle is unfolding over intellectual property rights. Litigation over the game stretches back to 2013, when the company 3D Realms dropped a suit against Gearbox Software alleging that the company was withholding profits.

Previous litigation

Gearbox, 3D Realms and Interceptor reached a settlement in 2015 after Gearbox purchased the Duke Nukem IP and 3D Realms subsequently licensed Interceptor to develop another Duke Nukem game. The latest legal battle started with a lawsuit filed in September 2019 by the game’s composer. The composer’s claim was that since his work was for the original game, using it in new properties meant that he should be paid additional licensing fees.

Disputes over IP rights

Gearbox filed a third-party claim in June against Apogee Software, the parent company of 3D Realms, arguing that in November 2019, it informed 3D Realms about the issue and that 3D Realms did not indemnify them. The two co-owners of Apogee Software have also been added to the suit. Gearbox says that sole ownership of all Duke Nukem IP rights were supposed to have been transferred to them by 3D Realms as part of their 2010 acquisition agreement and that 3D Realms has violated portions of that agreement.

Intellectual property can be a company’s most valuable asset, and it might be critical for a company to have experienced legal counsel when involved in a dispute over IP rights or when preparing or signing a contract. Companies of all sizes might also want to turn to an attorney if they are dealing with breaches of contract and other business disputes.