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Suing over Star Trek

This isn’t exactly fresh news, but what the heck, it was news to me.

Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), a leading developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment software products, today announced that it has filed a breach of contract suit against Viacom.

In its complaint, which was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California on June 30, 2003, Activision accused Viacom of breaching its fundamental promise to continue exploiting the Star Trek franchise consistent with its practice at the time the agreement was signed in 1998. “Activision cannot successfully develop and sell Star Trek video games without the product exploitation and support promised by Viacom. A continuing pipeline of movie and television production, and related marketing, is absolutely crucial to the success of video games based on a property such as Star Trek,” charged Activision in its court filings.

However, through its actions and inactions, Viacom has let the once proud Star Trek franchise stagnate and decay. Viacom has released only one “Star Trek” movie since entering into agreement with Activision and has recently informed Activision it has no current plans for further “Star Trek” films. Viacom also has allowed two “Star Trek” television series to go off the air and the remaining series suffers from weak ratings. Viacom also frustrated Activision’s efforts to coordinate the development and marketing of its games with Viacom’s development and marketing of its new movies and television series.

The complaint goes on to state: “By failing and refusing to continue to exploit and support the Star Trek franchise as it had promised, Viacom has significantly diminished the value of Star Trek licensing rights including the rights received by Activision. Moreover, in so doing, Viacom has breached a fundamental term of its agreement with Activision … and has caused Activision significant damage.”

You know, if I were the judge in this case, I’d rule that each side’s lawyers must come to court dressed up as either Klingons or Romulans. Of course, I’d instruct the bailiff that all phasers, disruptors, and batleths must be checked at the door. Wouldn’t want things to get out of hand, after all.

Via Tacitus.

UPDATE: Dwight says that lawyers are Romulans and Ferengis, never Klingons. He’s probably right, but making them talk like Klingons would be worth it (“Tremble before the might of my deposition, lowly targ!”).

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  1. Lawyers are Romulans or Ferengi, never Klingons.

  2. Pete says:

    And they’ve already got their first juror.

  3. Iris says:

    I think Klingons would make much more entertaining lawyers.. Ferengi would just want to settle the case to their best advantage. Klingons settle for nothing less than complete victory.

    I’m with Activision.. Viacom is doing a lousy job.

  4. phil says:

    Viacom has always done a lousy job; the public just isn’t buying anymore, since there are plenty of good geek franchises out there at the moment (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars to some extent, Matrix to some extent, etc.)

    Wasn’t Capt. Picard a lawyer for Data in his personhood trial? And didn’t Voyager rehash that plotline with Capt. Janeway and the holographic doctor? So you should add boring ol’ humans to your list of potential lawyers.

    There’d definitely be a lot less plea bargaining with Klingons in charge, though.

  5. Yes, Capt. Picard defended Data’s right to exist as a free cyborg. Cmdr. Riker was forced to advocate for the opposing side. I don’t recall the Voyager episode in question, mostly because I’ve forgotten pretty much everything about Voyager.

  6. “Tremble before the might of my deposition, lowly targ”

    I have a couple of deposition scheduled for next week. I may have to steal that line. I’ll use it just before the oath is administered. For once, I might get honest answers.