Hasbro has filed a complaint in the District Court of Rhode Island, seeking to terminate their licensing agreement with Dungeons and Dragons Online publisher Atari due to alleged fraud and five separate breaches of the licensing agreement for Dungeons & Dragons.
Hasbro, the owners of Dungeons & Dragons through wholly-owned subsidiary Wizards of the Coast, alleges that Atari may have entered into an unauthorized sublicensing agreement with Namco Bandai Partners. Atari sold it PAL distribution arm to Namco Bandai partners earlier this year, which could very well be one of the causes for Hasbro's concern. Hasbro maintains that a sublicensing agreement with Namco Bandai, one of Hasbro's competitors, is strictly prohibited under the D&D licensing contract.
"While unfortunate that we had to take this action, it is crucial for us to protect the Dungeons & Dragons brand," said Greg Leeds, President of Wizards of the Coast. "We have been working for several months now to reach resolution with Atari, and they have left us with no other choice than to pursue legal action."
Hasbro seeks to terminate Atari's license as well as compensatory damages for economic losses.
Atari responds to these allegations in a statement sent to Kotaku this morning.
"Atari has had a long and rich history with the Dungeons and Dragons franchise, investing millions of dollars into numerous critically acclaimed and commercially successful games that have generated significant revenue for Hasbro. Hasbro has resorted to these meritless allegations, in an apparent attempt to unfairly take back rights granted to Atari. Atari has sought to resolve the matter without cooperation from Hasbro. We regret that our long-time partner has decided to pursue this action. Atari will respond appropriately through its legal counsel in court."
Atari signed a 10-year licensing contract with Hasbro in 2007, the future of which is now uncertain. Through the agreement Atari has produced Dungeons and Dragons Online, Neverwinter Nights II and its expansions, and Dungeons & Dragons Tactics for the PSP. Enjoy them while you can...they might not be around much longer.