For $950,000, Fees, Other Remedies
Posted by Milton Griepp on November 20, 2020 @ 4:19 am CT
The seeds of the dispute, according to GF9’s complaint, arose in May, when WotC let GF9 know that it wanted to end its licenses a year early, on December 31, 2020 instead of December 31, 2021. After no agreement was reached on an early termination, GF9 alleges that WotC stopped approving products for release in international markets where GF9 had translation and distribution rights.
This month, the dispute led to dueling notices of breach of contract between the companies. GF9 notified WotC that it considered its failure to approve products for sale a breach; and WotC notified GF9 that it considered the conduct of two of GF9’s subcontractors and distributors, TRPG Club in Korea, and Black Book Editions, which published translations in French, to constitute breach of contract by GF9. GF9 claims that no breaches on its part occurred, and if they did, they were cured.
The GF9 suit listed three causes of action: breach of contract, breach of implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, and declaratory relief and temporary injunctive relief. GF9 is asking the court to determine that GF9 is not in breach and that any termination by WotC would be wrongful; and to enjoin WotC from terminating GF9’s licenses.
There are two licenses between the companies: a 2017 license for translation and distribution of Dungeons & Dragons material in a number of foreign countries, and a 2008 license for manufacture and worldwide distribution of D&D products. The two contracts are linked, so if there is a default in one, both can be terminated.
"After twelve years of working with Wizards, we find ourselves in a difficult place having to utilize the legal system to try and resolve an issue we have spent the last six months trying to amicably handle between us without any success," GF9 CEO Jean-Paul Brisigotti said in a statement to ICv2. "We still hope this can be settled between us but the timeline for a legal resolution has meant we have been forced to go down this path at this time."
Wizards of the Coast did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication.