Friday, June 11, 2010

Palladium's Lawsuit Dismissed By Judge

Palladium Books was dealt an incredible blow today as a Michigan judge dismissed the lawsuit against Trion Worlds. Palladium argued that Trion's new MMO, "Rift: Planes of Telera," infringed on its trademark on Rifts for use in video games.

Here is the final portion of the decision:
For the reasons stated above, the Court grants Trion’s motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction. In addition, the Court denies Palladium’s request for expedited discovery. Finally, Palladium’s motion for a preliminary injunction is denied for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Thanks to Trask at for breaking the story. If you're looking for all of the facts, documents, and background, that's the place to go. Tell him I sent you and he'll give you a cookie.


Helmsman said...

I don't see how it could have gone any other way. Trion Worlds wouldn't be able to yank the name and the absolute BEST case scenario is that they would have ended up paying Palladium money to use the name. Considering the word Rift is still relatively generic and with the potential revenue discrepancy between the two parties I didn't see any other result than this.

Now really, what has Palladium lost? I don't think they've lost the right to create a Rifts video game at a later date, they've just lost the right to sue for exclusive use of the word Rift in gaming properties. I just can't see this effecting their business any. Of course feel free to dispute that if you think differently.

Jason Richards said...

Other than a sour taste, Palladium's biggest loss at this point is just the time and money spent. Kevin says that Palladium has basically dealt with nothing but this for six weeks. Meanwhile, they have completed manuscripts sitting on the desk.

I agree with you, though. I think that Palladium could still develop an MMO (though other companies might be more wary now).

TheDukester said...

"Incredible blow"? Not seeing it.

I'm sure they're disappointed, but let's not get all dramatic. They went to court; they lost. It happens. Time to move on.

Steve Dubya said...

There's two problems that Palladium is now going to face; one that will be slightly more under their control than the other.

First is any continued litigation against Trion Worlds with regard to the initial complaint, with obviously a change in location. CA would probably be the best choice (as it would be hard for Trion to argue lack of jurisdiction), but that brings the added difficulty of now required travel and state-specific IP laws that their current lawyers may not be up on nearly as well as the Trion lawyers. I suspect that Trion will be able to weather this one if for no other reason than deeper pockets, so this is really going to boil down to how long and hard Palladium feel like pursuing the matter - at some point the costs are going to outweigh the benefits.

The second, and more problematic, issue is that there's no reason to believe that Trion was bluffing when they said there were filing for the "fraudulence" of the mentioned Palladium TMs. While the law does tend to side with the IP holder in those sorts of cases, again the deeper pockets of Trion could prevail. Assuming that Palladium wanted to keep the TMs in question, that's going to be a lot more lawyer fees that they hadn't otherwise anticipated - and the best case scenario here is that Palladium merely gets to keep what it currently has.

I'm curious to see what the next moves by each company are.

Jack Philpott said...

Q: does PB still have the right to produce a MMORPG named "Rifts?" I immagine yes, though the appearance of "copycat" is there.

Frankly if they're thinking smartly and not caught up in revanchist rage they lick their wounds glad they keep their right to produce a Rifts MMORPG.

And Jason, yes, they'd better spend their time and money putting out those manuscripts, yours and mine among them, that are needed to actually keep the company in business. Kevin keeps putting faith in a movie or MMO to "Save" the company, but frankly, fat chance. IMO Hollyweird knows his financial difficulties and is just waiting for him to go under so they can scoop up all the Rifts rights on the ultra-cheap...I have a cousin in the "Biz" and yes, they really are THAT cheap and petty. The only way they're making it, IM outside O, is to put out product, which is exactly what they're not doing.

Jason Richards said...

Dukester, In my opinion, this qualifies as an incredible blow. In addition to Palladium having to start over again in another court, which means that the time and money spent on this round of legal maneuvering was wasted, Palladium failed to prevent Trion from exhibiting the Rift game at E3, and was denied expedited discovery. They were defeated in this round on every motion that they made.

Steve, Trion certainly wasn't bluffing. In going through Michigan paperwork there was an "intent to sue" notice in the stack. What happens next is anybody's guess.

Jack, my understanding is that, even if Palladium loses, they would still have the right to produce a Rifts MMO. Trion has gone to great lengths to point out how different its Rift: Planes of Telera name is from the RIFTS name. So, it seems to me (an idiot and layman) that they couldn't then turn around and suggest that a RIFTS MMO was trading on the Rift: Planes of Telera name.

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