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News: Paul & Fred have reached a settlement with Stardock!

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Author Topic: Stardock Litigation Discussion  (Read 41138 times)
Frogacuda
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #570 on: February 28, 2019, 02:43:36 am »

Now if Stardock could prove that scientifically a "HyperSpace" is likely to be red-shifted (and not just black), will likely have moving "streaks" and will have a hole near gravity wells, then F&P could not claim a copyright on that FTL expression (or the scientific paper would lead to them losing the copyright held until then), but again, I presume if Stardock would be able to prove that, earning money with games would become a lucrative side-job when selling games to the crews outward bound from our Solar system with the HyperSpace drive provided by Stardock Inc.

Even beyond this, I think Stardock is going to have a much more difficult time framing their product's similarities as arbitrary or derivative simply because of their repeated interest in and claimed ownership of the Reiche IP. The "parallel thought" argument is tough to make when you're literally making a game with the same title.

And this sort of thing can be very compelling in IP cases. Consider for a moment Harlan Ellison's lawsuit against Orion over a writing credit on The Terminator over similarities to a couple of Outer Limits episodes Ellison wrote. These similarities were noticeable but not so severe that the studio couldn't play them off as coincidence, EXCEPT James Cameron gave an interview in which he said he got the idea by "ripping off a couple Outer Limits episodes." Once that chain is established, the claim becomes significantly more damaging.

There is no real way Stardock can argue that these similarities are coincidence. Stardock has already laid out the argument that they own the Reiche IP so they can't claim to be unaware of it. They're going to have to double down on the argument that they own it somehow, which seems, frankly, like a ridiculous claim.

I'm kind of surprised this is even going to trial. It's a testament to Stardock's lawyers that it wasn't just tossed out. Although that might do Stardock more harm than good in the end, especially if they end up with an invalid trademark and no rights to anything.
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Ariloulawleelay
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #571 on: May 25, 2019, 11:37:22 pm »


As for the substance of Brad's arguments, yeah, we've already discussed that. I also don't think that F&P claim that they own the concept of hyperspace or the color red, but rather that they own an expression of hyperspace that consists of space permeated by red light that is full of dancing lights and holes in space leading to star systems (and traveling ships). Whether that already constitutes copyrightable expression or that expression should be much more specific (like the shape and the content of the holes, the shape and the size of the lights, which are different between SC2 and SCO), I'm not qualified to answer.


And don't forget the choice of background music!

As an aside, now that the litigation may (sadly) be winding down, I do appreciate you distinguishing between your descriptive views (how you think the case will turn out under current law) and your normative views (how you think the case should turn out). Not everyone has been as direct as you.
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Ariloulawleelay
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #572 on: May 26, 2019, 12:30:19 am »

Even beyond this, I think Stardock is going to have a much more difficult time framing their product's similarities as arbitrary or derivative simply because of their repeated interest in and claimed ownership of the Reiche IP. The "parallel thought" argument is tough to make when you're literally making a game with the same title.

And this sort of thing can be very compelling in IP cases. Consider for a moment Harlan Ellison's lawsuit against Orion over a writing credit on The Terminator over similarities to a couple of Outer Limits episodes Ellison wrote. These similarities were noticeable but not so severe that the studio couldn't play them off as coincidence, EXCEPT James Cameron gave an interview in which he said he got the idea by "ripping off a couple Outer Limits episodes." Once that chain is established, the claim becomes significantly more damaging.

I think it's especially striking when one compares this situation to the "Nicholas Gaunt" case, where the defendants were able to escape liability despite re-using the name of one of the plaintiff's characters. Would that case have turned out differently had the defendants not had documentary evidence showing how they came up with the name independently?

There is no real way Stardock can argue that these similarities are coincidence. Stardock has already laid out the argument that they own the Reiche IP so they can't claim to be unaware of it. They're going to have to double down on the argument that they own it somehow, which seems, frankly, like a ridiculous claim.

This argument is especially frustrating to me because, as I noted earlier, Stardock continued selling the Classic Star Control games after the 25th anniversary tribute (when Stardock purportedly learned that R/F did not create Star Control). I imagine that anyone who purchased a copy of SC1 or SC2 from Stardock in 2018 could discover exactly whom Stardock believes owns the copyright by checking out the title screens.

I'm kind of surprised this is even going to trial. It's a testament to Stardock's lawyers that it wasn't just tossed out. Although that might do Stardock more harm than good in the end, especially if they end up with an invalid trademark and no rights to anything.

Stardock's Fourth Amended Complaint (along with an explanation of what took so long) is due on Tuesday. We'll see if NP bothers filing anything...
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PRH
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #573 on: May 26, 2019, 08:25:32 pm »

The most recent document on CourtListener says that the parties are close to settling the case. Let's hope that this is true, and that the terms of the settlement will be closer to what F&P originally proposed than what Stardock proposed.
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Krulle
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #574 on: May 27, 2019, 10:25:34 am »

For those interested:
This is the document on courtlistener, signed by Stardock/Valve's counsel and by F&P's counsel.
They also request an extension on the current limit dates regarding amended complaints, and discoveries by about 1 week, for all parties, from 24 or 29 May 2019 to 3 June 2019.

Since all parties signed the request, chances are that the judge will order as proposed.

It's rather unlikely the terms of the agreement will be public, and I must confess I'd love to read them.
Some of them will become public, either by public withdrawal of the TM-requests of Stardock, or withdrawal of the oppositions on those, merely by observance of the public file inspections of the court, USPTO, and other institutions.
Or by the continuation of the GotP project (or the announcement of a new name for the product).

Beginning of next week we should know more, end of next week we should know if the parties have reached an agreement or not.

*crossing fingers* *daumendrück* *duimen* that it'll be favourable to Fred&Paul, and not a result of a lack of financial means for the court case.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 10:29:51 am by Krulle » Logged
Ariloulawleelay
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #575 on: May 27, 2019, 09:51:40 pm »

For those interested:
This is the document on courtlistener, signed by Stardock/Valve's counsel and by F&P's counsel.
They also request an extension on the current limit dates regarding amended complaints, and discoveries by about 1 week, for all parties, from 24 or 29 May 2019 to 3 June 2019.

I'm not sure that the Stipulation would enlarge the time Stardock has to file its Proposed Fourth Amended Complaint. Each party's discovery materials - the responses to other parties' interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for production - are owed to the other parties. Stardock's pleading is due to the Court.

EDIT: See the update from Elestan, reflecting a subsequent, all-party stipulation, below.

Personally, I would not be surprised if this pending deadline was part of the impetus for this round of settlement talks. Federal jurists love awarding pyrrhic victories - they're harder to appeal - and by dismissing counts 12 and 13 without prejudice, the Court may have actually made more trouble for Stardock. Per the Court's instructions, in order to move forward, Stardock would have to rewrite those allegations to focus on R/F's tortious disruption of Stardock's contractual relationships with a specific, limited group of customers who pre-ordered SCO and whose identities can be readily ascertained. But, after the embarrassing "backlash" quotes from Frogboy's affidavit, it should be clear to NP that Stardock's collected "exhibits" are worthless. NP would be hard-pressed to draft a Fourth Amended Complaint which doesn't have evidentiary problems (assuming Stardock does not want jurors to hear from disgruntled ex-Founders) and open up Stardock to damaging, albeit limited discovery (why was Stardock issuing refunds, anyway?).

Since all parties signed the request, chances are that the judge will order as proposed.

While it may not affect your conclusion here, I am not convinced that the contemplated settlement would resolve the dispute between R/F and GoG. And the Court's Friday message suggests that there may even be a motion to compel discovery brewing. This *finger* may yet survive a little longer...

It's rather unlikely the terms of the agreement will be public, and I must confess I'd love to read them.
Some of them will become public, either by public withdrawal of the TM-requests of Stardock, or withdrawal of the oppositions on those, merely by observance of the public file inspections of the court, USPTO, and other institutions.
Or by the continuation of the GotP project (or the announcement of a new name for the product).

While settlements are often made confidential, it need not always be this way. Just as the parties in this case freely posted (and commented upon) negotiations up until Stardock moved for a gag order, they would be free to resume *telling stories* once the case is over - unless, of course, one (or more) of the parties is willing to pay to keep everyone quiet. So there's hope!

Though in practice, settlements often mean that neither side gets to enjoy its just *desserts*, so it may be that no one would be happy with what she reads.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2019, 06:23:26 pm by Ariloulawleelay » Logged
Elestan
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #576 on: May 29, 2019, 06:42:12 am »

I'm not sure that the Stipulation would enlarge the time Stardock has to file its Proposed Fourth Amended Complaint. Each party's discovery materials - the responses to other parties' interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for production - are owed to the other parties. Stardock's pleading is due to the Court.

They just asked for (and received) the same extension to Stardock's 4th AC deadline, as well as GOG's pleading response.  Looks like we'll have some news by June 3rd, one way or another.
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Elestan
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #577 on: May 31, 2019, 08:00:50 am »

Personally, I would not be surprised if this pending deadline was part of the impetus for this round of settlement talks. Federal jurists love awarding pyrrhic victories - they're harder to appeal - and by dismissing counts 12 and 13 without prejudice, the Court may have actually made more trouble for Stardock. Per the Court's instructions, in order to move forward, Stardock would have to rewrite those allegations to focus on R/F's tortious disruption of Stardock's contractual relationships with a specific, limited group of customers who pre-ordered SCO and whose identities can be readily ascertained. But, after the embarrassing "backlash" quotes from Frogboy's affidavit, it should be clear to NP that Stardock's collected "exhibits" are worthless. NP would be hard-pressed to draft a Fourth Amended Complaint which doesn't have evidentiary problems (assuming Stardock does not want jurors to hear from disgruntled ex-Founders) and open up Stardock to damaging, albeit limited discovery (why was Stardock issuing refunds, anyway?).

I'm also wondering if one of the parties might be motivated to abort Discovery in order to avoid having to turn over documents that contain things they don't want to risk being made public.
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Ariloulawleelay
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #578 on: May 31, 2019, 06:30:21 pm »

I'm also wondering if one of the parties might be motivated to abort Discovery in order to avoid having to turn over documents that contain things they don't want to risk being made public.

Or to avoid sharing in general, now that granular information about the SCO Founders is presumably at issue.

But yes, this is a reasonable possibility: the parties have reached the close of written fact discovery; if the other side has bodies buried somewhere, this would have been the last, best chance to dig them up.
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Ariloulawleelay
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #579 on: June 04, 2019, 02:49:11 am »

They just asked for (and received) the same extension to Stardock's 4th AC deadline, as well as GOG's pleading response.  Looks like we'll have some news by June 3rd, one way or another.

Make that June 7th now.

Does the fun ever stop?!
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PRH
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #580 on: June 04, 2019, 10:00:46 am »

Ugh, I kind of expected that to happen. I wonder what makes the parties want to stall things like that.

Also, if Stardock does file its 4th amended complaint, wouldn't that mean that the settlement negotiations have failed, at least for the time being?

Although, that may be exactly the reason for extending the deadline. If the settlement talks succeed, there would be no need to file an amended complaint.

Or, as the stipulation suggests, the parties actually need to file their amended pleadings before settlement negotiations can continue.

Oh well, if they are going to settle after all, then a few more days of waiting would be more than worth it. After all, we all want things to be done right. And the settlement talks having been resumed and apparently being quite successful is the best news we've had in a long while.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2019, 01:34:50 pm by PRH » Logged
Elestan
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Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion
« Reply #581 on: June 04, 2019, 04:20:39 pm »

Ugh, I kind of expected that to happen. I wonder what makes the parties want to stall things like that.

There are lots of little details to figure out in a settlement, and everyone is posturing and haggling to try to get as much as they can, so it's not really an environment conducive to efficient problem-solving.

Quote
Also, if Stardock does file its 4th amended complaint, wouldn't that mean that the settlement negotiations have failed, at least for the time being?
Although, that may be exactly the reason for extending the deadline. If the settlement talks succeed, there would be no need to file an amended complaint.

Asked and answered.

Quote
Or, as the stipulation suggests, the parties actually need to file their amended pleadings before settlement negotiations can continue.

No, they can keep asking the Judge to extend the deadlines.

Quote
Oh well, if they are going to settle after all, then a few more days of waiting would be more than worth it. After all, we all want things to be done right. And the settlement talks having been resumed and apparently being quite successful is the best news we've had in a long while.

Yep.  I'll admit that there's a part of me that will be a bit disappointed if we never see a Judge rule on some of the topics we've discussed here over the last couple of years...it would be nice to see where we got it right and wrong.  But I'd rather see P&F get back to making GotP.
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Elestan
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Settlement Reached!
« Reply #582 on: June 08, 2019, 02:51:34 am »

A document filed at the Trademark Appeals Board today indicates that the parties have reached a settlement.  Terms are not yet known, other than that P&F are no longer opposing the "Star Control" mark.
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Ariloulawleelay
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Re: Settlement Reached!
« Reply #583 on: June 08, 2019, 04:10:23 am »

A document filed at the Trademark Appeals Board today indicates that the parties have reached a settlement.  Terms are not yet known, other than that P&F are no longer opposing the "Star Control" mark.

Accordingly, and pursuant to a stipulation by all six parties, the Court has dismissed the case with prejudice. From my perspective, this sequence of events ends here.


Yep.  I'll admit that there's a part of me that will be a bit disappointed if we never see a Judge rule on some of the topics we've discussed here over the last couple of years...it would be nice to see where we got it right and wrong.  But I'd rather see P&F get back to making GotP.

Do you really believe that all of the parties would have accepted the judge's rulings as final?

Be seeing you...
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Elestan
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Re: Settlement Reached!
« Reply #584 on: June 08, 2019, 04:57:22 am »

Accordingly, and pursuant to a stipulation by all six parties, the Court has dismissed the case with prejudice. From my perspective, this sequence of events ends here.

I take it there's no other information on the docket about what the settlement terms were?

Yep.  I'll admit that there's a part of me that will be a bit disappointed if we never see a Judge rule on some of the topics we've discussed here over the last couple of years...it would be nice to see where we got it right and wrong.  But I'd rather see P&F get back to making GotP.
Do you really believe that all of the parties would have accepted the judge's rulings as final?

Even if they hadn't, seeing the Judge's ruling would have provided a lot of interesting insight to the armchair lawyer crowd.
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