Business, Software Programs

Interplay Wins in the Battle Chess Saga against Topware and SouthPeak

It has been a long hard road for Interplay Entertainment yet the company is making progress. Back in 2010, Interplay sued Topware Interactive and SouthPeak Games for trademark infringement. It appears that both of the defendants wanted to trade on the goodwill of the Battle Chess name without licensing it from Interplay. At the same time, the company was preparing a Kickstarter campaign for the resurrected Battle Chess.

What is Battle Chess?
Battle Chess retail package today can attract a very appealing price, with boxes going between $35 and $250 on sites such as eBayBattle Chess was a very popular brand during the late 1980’s to mid-1990’s and still retains a very strong cult following. The game featured animated chess pieces that upon taking a square would fight it out in a short sequence. Given the location of the development (Los Angeles, CA), it is no wonder to see that the game theme can be seen in modern Hollywood movies such as the Harry Potter series where a move is executed, and then the chess pieces fight for control.

History Lesson
Interplay Entertainment was once a high flier in the computer games business – responsible for such classics as: The Fallout series, Earth Worm Jim, Descent, Freespace, Sacrifice, MDK, and Stonekeep. Not to mention they published Baldur’s Gate and Planescape Torment. However, after severe mismanagement and several years of losses the company fell upon hard times. In order to survive Interplay turned to Titus Interactive for $35 million in funding. Even that was not enough and a few years later Titus took control of Interplay by converting bonds into shares of stock.

The rest of the story is rather simple… a mountain of debt from the previous management, the selling off of games and studios – Black Isle Studios closing down Interplay entered into a period of dormancy and survival.

The Lawsuit

Interplay Judgement

It appears that Topware and SouthPeak bet that Interplay would be bankrupted via the Interplay vs. Bethesda lawsuit but a settlement occurred between the two. This put the Battle Chess lawsuit on the front burner. Fueled by an influx of cash Interplay could focus on the Battle Chess and in the end both Topware and SouthPeak lost the lawsuit.

Having obtained court documents via PACER, details are as follows:

  1. Defendant SouthPeak shall pay to Plaintiff the total sum of $50,000, together with post-judgment interest.
  2. Defendant Topware shall pay to Plaintiff on Plaintiff’s cause of action for trademark infringement the amount of $100,000, together with post-judgment interest.
  3. Attorneys’ fee of $49,350.00, which shall be added to the Judgment.
  4. Tax costs of $1797 dollars for legal misc fees.

Interplay has won over $200,000, plus interest. Not bad for a small company but that’s not the end of the news… far from it… Black Isle Studios is working on an unannounced post-apocalyptic game. Details are scarce at the moment but stay tuned.