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>Hasbro and Atari Duel over a Licensing Spat

>Hasbro, the owner of the venerable Dungeons & Dragons intellectual property has brought suit against Atari, seeking to terminate Atari’s rights to develop video games based on Dungeons & Dragons.

According to Hasbro, the license agreement contained (i) a confidentiality provision that prohibited Atari from disclosing non-public information about Dungeons & Dragons video games to third parties and (ii) provisions outlining minimum customer support requirements.

As outlined in Hasbro’s complaint, Atari spun off divisions and went through multiple leadership changes, and then had a subsidiary of Namco Bandai (a key Hasbro competitor) take the reigns of certain Dungeons and Dragons games in certain European countries (thereby disclosing Hasbro confidential information to its competitor). Hasbro also includes in the complaint that it went country-by-country to assess Atari’s customer support of Dungeons & Dragons games and found the support lacking.

Hasbro is seeking to terminate the license agreement and also brought claims for fraud and intentional misrepresentation. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island.

Andy Ehmke focuses his practice on intellectual property portfolio issues facing companies in the software, computer, video game and mobile device industries. Prior to joining Haynes and Boone, Andy was an information systems manager and consultant, and also worked as a programmer designing object-oriented programs for hand-held computing devices.

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