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"Harmony Gold sues Piranha Games over Mech Designs" Topic

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Katwerks23 Jul 2017 4:22 p.m. PST

Harmony Gold is suing Piranha Games over Mech Designs:


whitejamest23 Jul 2017 5:24 p.m. PST

Really enjoyed seeing the phrase "warrior robots" occurring so many times in a legal document.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP23 Jul 2017 8:41 p.m. PST

So are these mech warriors actual miniatures or are they represented only within video games?


Jason O Mahony24 Jul 2017 1:23 a.m. PST

So back to this hoary old nut. I remember them going after FASA back in the day.

The IP relating to Robotech/Macross is such a mess.

Russ Lockwood24 Jul 2017 6:26 a.m. PST

At least the court document had pictures… :)

Moonbeast Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2017 6:48 a.m. PST

Well, this isn't good for those of us who backed their Battletech video game kickstarter…we'll just have to wait and see how this pans out I suppose.

M1Fanboy24 Jul 2017 9:27 a.m. PST

I wrote some thoughts about this in my blog…the entire matter seems a bit of a stretch on Harmony Gold's part to me.


TGerritsen24 Jul 2017 10:28 a.m. PST

I used to work at FASA Interactive back in the day and everything boils down to this (it's more complex than this, but this is the capsule).

Way back in the day, Harmony Gold licensed the rights to Macross, Southern Cross and Genesis Climber Mospaeda to create Robotech from one company who claimed to have the rights. Harmony Gold claims that this gives them the exclusive rights to these properties outside of Japan (the rest of the world) now and forever (which is why we don't get the newer Macross series here in the US because no one wants to get sued trying to import them).

FASA Corporation licensed the rights to a lot of different mecha from several different shows from another company that claimed to have the rights to do so. This included Macross and several other Japanese shows. Harmony Gold felt that their license was more solid, so eventually sued FASA over their claims (this is alluded to in the court documents).

Harmony Gold won that suit. Trying to be as objective as possible, I disagree with that outcome since the Japanese companies themselves weren't that clear on things), but HG did win in a US Court, and that's that. Since all of the original borrowed mechs came from this same deal (which had now lost in court), FASA proactively removed all of these mechs from Canon so as not to be sued by whoever else claimed the US rights to those designs (which fans referred to as the 'Unseen.')

Not having been involved for many years, I had assumed that the reseen mechs (which have been reintroduced, with altered designs) were the result of some kind of back room agreements, but apparently not, since Harmony Gold is right back to suing over these designs.

This sucks, since many Battletech players loved the old Robotech and would like to see both companies put their efforts into a settlement that would make both groups happy rather than a stupid lawsuit.

TGerritsen24 Jul 2017 10:32 a.m. PST

M1 Fanboy- since HG can claim prior precedent in a court case involving the same parties, they actually have a very good potential case. (As much as I hate to admit it). Sure, some of their attributions are silly (like the Atlas looking like a Crusader, which itself was originally an armored Valkyrie), but that's not what is going to matter.

I hope that Jordan can point to some kind of agreement on the part of HG, or, barring that, that he can show enough variation so that the court will give them the right to continue, but honestly, at first blush it doesn't look good for BT fans.

M1Fanboy24 Jul 2017 10:44 a.m. PST

TG – I agree, and the fact is, this lawsuit has no ultimate good for either side. Many Battletech fans started off as Robotech fans, I did. To be honest, prior precedent is going to kill the defendants here like you said..but the fact is? What of the court of public opinion?

Both parties have a lot to lose there. HBS/Piranha Games/IMR have their very survival at stake, as well as the name of "Battletech". Harmony Gold? If Robotech ever wants to become viable again, like say, through a movie? Then it's going to have to appeal to Battletech fans. How many Battletech fans are going to line up to see any such movie knowing Harmony Gold had anything to do with it? I suspect not very many.

I think the best way forward for both sides is to make a deal that both sides can live with. Battletech fans want their mechs back. Harmony Gold wants their IP respected. There is wiggle room there.

Oberlindes Sol LIC24 Jul 2017 10:52 a.m. PST

"9. This case involves giant animated warrior robots."

Pictures start on page 5! And appear, as they say, passim.

I'm sure every ten-year-old boy in a law clerk's body volunteered to write -- and illustrate -- the first bench memo when the case was filed.

TGerritsen26 Jul 2017 10:43 a.m. PST

Agreed, Fanboy. I started with Battletech back when it was still Battledroids- mainly because I wanted to play those Robotech designs!

HG is really shooting themselves in the foot long term.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2017 11:01 p.m. PST

I don't have a dog in this fight. I don't play the video games, I don't play Battletech or Robotech.

To me, all these big stompy robots look about the same. They all look like a guy in a big suit of armor. Just as a Tiger I tank looks like a bigger Panzer IV or a Tiger II looks like a Panther.

It seems to me to be a difference without a distinction. I think the lawsuit is based mostly on the fact the defendant got a couple million in a Kickstarter and the plaintiff is hoping for a payday.

Just my opinion, but what do I know?

Mike Bunkermeister Creek

ced110629 Jul 2017 12:25 p.m. PST

I only know about HG from the Palladium game, but my impression is that they're not any better than Palladium is, and have been more interested in real estate than producing content. They have licensed a boardgame recently, which shows that the license still has some sort of value. Also, HG didn't sue Reaper CAV, another line of "giant animated warrior robots".

Also: link

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