If Silicon Knights wins its already infamous Unreal Engine 3 case against Epic Games, there could be a massive shake-up in the conventions protecting the licensor from similar exposure, a specialist attorney has told CVG comrade Next-Gen.
Speaking under conditions of strict anonymity (our phrase of the day), the unnamed attorney warned, "It should make anyone that has middleware nervous if the licensee of that middleware can make out a claim for damages based on the quality of the middleware provided."
In case you didn't know, the Too Human developer is doing exactly that. The developer is suing Epic for delivering an allegedly "inoperable" game engine that didn't work as advertised.
"If Silicon Knights wins, the impact would be far greater than if Epic won," he added. "A win for the licensee would upset all the conventions protecting the licensor from this kind of exposure."
Conventions included disclaimers removing all blame from Epic's corner if the engine doesn't perform to the licensee's expectations, but Next-Gen's stealth attorney says they'll mean nothing if the case goes to trial.
Those conventions include disclaimers in a licensing agreement that remove blame from a middleware provider if the engine doesn't perform to a licensee's expectations.
"...If the licensee got as far as trial, that party has then overcome what the licensors have always thought as their line of defence in those exclusions from liability, including the exclusion of the scope of how much the damage can be," he said.
"...I think the impact, if the licensee were to win, would be phenomenal--a real shakeup, a major breakthrough," he added. If Epic wins on the other hand, he says, it'll be business as usual. Can we go back to looking forward to UT III then?