SK vs Epic legal battle rages on

SK vs Epic legal battle rages on
Michael French

By Michael French

September 14th 2007 at 10:45AM

Too Human developer claims Unreal Engine 3 maker has 'done much wrong'

Next-Gen reports that Silicon Knights has attempted to dismantle Epic Games' motion to dismiss the lawsuit against it which alleges Unreal Engine 3 breached contracts and failed to deliver.

Silicon Knights initiated its legal action against Epic in July, claiming "Epic violated the Agreement with Silicon Knights by, among other things, failing to provide a working game engine."

Epic fired back a counterclaim and motion to dismiss in August, saying that Silicon Knights wants to "unlawfully enrich itself" at the Unreal Engine 3 maker's expense after "having exploited Epic's intellectual property to its advantage".

Now, Silicon Knights has put together a response to Epic's counterclaim, saying "Silicon Knights has... very clearly and sufficiently alleged that Epic has 'done much wrong.' Consequently, Epic’s Motion to Dismiss should be denied.

"For Epic to attempt to dispute the merit of those allegations [of the original suit] under the auspices of a motion to dismiss is improper. Therefore, Epic’s Motion to dismiss should be denied in its entirety, Epic should be ordered to answer the Complaint, and this case should proceed to discovery and trial."

SK originally alleged that Epic had intentionally 'sabotaged' its and other games by not delivering the most up to date version of Unreal Engine 3 used by Gears of War - and accusation Epic pointed out doesn't sit alongside trying to build a profitable long-term third party licensing business.

Silicon Knight's latest legal motion, however, says: "In addition to being an improper argument on the merits, Epic’s assertion that it has 'a vested interest' in Silicon Knights’ success and continued use of the Engine is far-fetched, at best.

"The profits Epic assured for itself by having Gears of War as the marquee title for the Xbox 360 dwarf any gain Epic would receive from Silicon Knights purchasing a subsequent licenses for the Engine."

Despite the legal squabble, Epic continues to get sign up new licensees and partners for its Integrated Partners Program.

Meanwhile, here at Developmag.com, we've put together an extensive set of features looking at the questions raised by the very issue of licensing third party engines - you can read the full feature here, and a roundtable talk where UK studio CTOs discuss the Epic vs Silicon Knights case here. Click here to read an interview with Epic VP Mark Rein.