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Viacom: Activision Lawsuit 'Without Merit'

By Caillan
July 2, 2003 - 10:15 AM

Viacom Inc. last night responded to Activision's lawsuit alleging it has damaged the Star Trek franchise and thus broken the terms of their license agreement (story).

"Activision's allegations are without merit," Viacom said in a statement, according a report by Ben Berkowitz of the Reuters news agency. "Activision appears to be trying to use the courts in an effort to renegotiate a deal it made in 1998 to secure the rights to the valued Star Trek franchise for interactive games."

The computer game developer yesterday filed a breach of contract suit against Viacom, the parent company of Paramount Pictures and owners of the Star Trek name. Activision said Viacom has broken the "fundamental promise" of its ten-year license agreement, namely that Viacom would continue to produce Star Trek television series and films which could be used as the basis for computer games.

In addition to lodging the lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Activision cancelled its contract with Viacom. According to Activision spokeswoman Maryanne Lataif, this action was taken as a last resort. "We've expressed our dissatisfaction with the state of affairs some time ago," she told Reuters. "We would have preferred to maintain our relationship with Viacom."

The lawsuit also alleges Viacom said it has "no current plans" to produce more Star Trek feature films. However, Viacom sources today told the Hollywood Reporter's Jesse Hiestand they do intend to make further Trek feature films and "support" the only television series currently on air, Enterprise.

Activision has developed several Star Trek games since landing the license in 1998, including one of the most successful Trek gaming titles, Star Trek: Voyager: Elite Force. Its sequel, Star Trek: Elite Force II, was only released in the United States last week. The company reportedly planned to produce a game based on Star Trek Nemesis, but said Viacom failed to provide "crucial information" on the film in a timely fashion.

Further information can be found at Yahoo! News and the Hollywood Reporter.

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