Content tagged Legal
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WB Games Chicago to Become Netherrealm Studios?

Our friends over at TRMK are reporting on the strong possibility that WB Games Chicago (the home of the MK team) will be renamed to Netherrealm Studios. According to gaming blog Superannuation, WB Games has registered the name "Netherrealm Studios". Following up on that, Patrick McCarron of TRMK did some checking, and found that the domain name has been registered by WB Games. While the name currently does not resolve, it's certain that it will be up and running at some point soon. From the TRMK news posting:

WB Secures Trademarks on Mortal Kombat Games and Clothing
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the folks over at Warner Bros. have fully secured their rights to the Mortal Kombat intellectual property, by trademarking games and clothing.

The three patents cover the following areas:

  • CD-ROM computer game discs; game equipment sold as a unit for playing a parlor-type computer game; downloadable software for use in playing online computer games, downloadable computer game software; video and computer game programs; video game cartridges and cassettes
  • Providing an on-line computer game; conducting contests on-line; providing a computer game that may be accessed by telecommunications network; and electronic publishing services, namely, publication of text and graphic works of others on-line featuring articles, novelizations, scripts, comic books, strategy guides, photographs and visual materials
  • Clothing for men, women and children – namely, shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jogging suits, trousers, pants, shorts, tank tops, skirts, blouses, dresses, rainwear, sweaters, jackets, coats, raincoats, snow suits, ties, robes, hats, caps, sunvisors, belts, scarves, sleepwear, pajamas, lingerie, underwear, boots, shoes, sneakers, sandals, socks, booties, slipper socks, swimwear and masquerade and Halloween costumes and masks sold in connection therewith

Some are already speculating that there may be a return to the mid-90s, in which Mortal Kombat merchandise was everywhere. It may be a bit early for such predictions, although this certainly would be a good first step in such a direction.

Thanks go to forum member cyberdog for raising this discussion!
Threshold Sues Warner Bros Over Rights to Third MK Film
With recent reports of the third MK movie being started up again by Warner Bros., it was only a matter of time before Threshold Entertainment voiced its concerned about its own intellectual property rights on the Franchise.

Apparently, Threshold had signed a contract with Midway to renew its rights to the films as recently as 2006. Warner Bros. has selected a screenwriter (Oren Uziel) apparently without any involvement from Threshold, therefore they have filed a new breach of contract lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court stating that WB "has avoided communicating with Threshold and has in bad faith prevented Threshold from utilizing the interest they have in the MIDWAY property".

Interestingly enough, the complaint also mentions separate litigation from Threshold Entertainment against Warner Bros. for the rights to the two previous films.

Ed Boon, commenting from Twitter, had this to say:
February 17, 2010: Must. Bite. Tongue. Harder....
So, who really is entitled to produce the third Mortal Kombat film - Warner Bros. or Threshold? Does Midway's bankruptcy and subsequent purchase by WB negate Threshold's rights, or not? These are the questions that will be decided in court, but its the fans who could ultimately lose, as there currently seems to be no end in sight for the nearly 15 years the movie's been in "development hell".

To read Threshold's original complaint in its entirety, click here (PDF format). To read the article on Kotaku, click here.

Thanks again to samus_aran3900 for yet another News Lead!

Update: February 25, 2011 – Warner Bros. won a major victory in a Los Angeles Superior Court this week, with the finding that a December ruling judgment for them to pay Threshold $14,000 rendered the rest of the case moot. (The original amount of the lawsuit against Warner Bros. was for $9.3 million). Warner Bros. wrote, in a statement to Hollywood Reporter regarding how WB honored the contract regarding income from the first two MK movies:
"We are very pleased that the court dismissed Threshold’s multi-million dollar claims... This victory fully vindicates Warner’s position that it accounted to Threshold fairly, appropriately and according to the parties’ contract."
While this seems to clear the way for Warner Bros. to proceed with releasing the Mortal Kombat films on Blu-Ray unhindered [full story], Threshold has announced plans to appeal and additionally, has 2 separate pending lawsuits against Warner Bros., one of them potentially hindering their ability to proceed with the upcoming Mortal Kombat live action series..