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Epic's motion to dismiss UEIII case denied

Epic's motion to dismiss the legal dispute with Silicon Knights has been denied

Epic's motion to dismiss the legal dispute with Silicon Knights has been denied, as additional documentation obtained by Next-Gen has Epic execs arguing their case further.

In a public court filing dated October 29, the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina denied defendant Epic's motion to dismiss the complaint involving Unreal Engine 3.

Earlier this year, Canadian developer Silicon Knights, which is developing the UE3-based Too Human (pictured) for Xbox 360, filed a lawsuit against Epic, accusing the Gears of War developer of delivering a sub-par product that has hindered game development.

Epic promptly filed the motion to dismiss and a counterclaim, which Silicon Knights then disputed.

Also on October 29, Epic filed two separate and lengthy declarations, one from Epic VP Mark Rein and another from Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney.

Sweeney again recounted the successes of UE3 and previous versions of the engine, pointing out awards and providing a long list of games that have used the development tool, as has been done in previous filings.

In this latest filing, he argued further that Epic has invested "man-years of effort" in developing UE3, and accused Silicon Knights of misappropriation of trade secrets related to the engine.

"I understand that Silicon Knights has admitted to using part or all of Unreal Engine 3 to create the Silicon Knights Engine from which it is creating its 'second game,'" wrote Sweeney. "I also understand that Silicon Knights, through the declaration of [Silicon Knights head] Denis Dyack, has admitted providing Unreal Engine 3 to unauthorized third parties.

"As a result of Silicon Knights' continued misappropriation of Epic's trade secrets and its infringement of Epic's copyrighted code, Epic has been and will continue to be damaged and irreparably harmed. The disclosure of trade secrets and copyrighted materials by Silicon Knights to unauthorized users would allow other parties to understand and utilize the systems and data structures associated with Unreal Engine 3 in order to reproduce, copy and ultimately compete with Epic in the competitive marketplace of game and engine development."

In Rein's declaration, he claimed that he contacted Dyack via e-mail in August 2006 regarding rumors that Silicon Knights was having serious problems with UE3 development.

"Mr. Dyack never confirmed to me that these rumors were true," Rein stated.

Rein went on to point out quotes from Dyack in the games media in which he denied those rumors.

Rein also challenged the involvement of UE3 in the Silicon Knights Engine and the aforementioned "second game," which is being published by Sega.

"While I was aware that Silicon Knights was pursuing a publishing deal with Sega, I never encouraged or expected Silicon Knights to sign a publishing agreement for a second game without also paying Epic's license fee," Rein said.

"...The videogaming industry is relatively small and close-knit such that companies live and die by their reputations. Silicon Knights' disparagement of the Unreal Engine 3 while it develops an allegedly independent and competing game engine imminently threatens Epic's licensing business."

Rein continued his argument, saying, "Every day that passes is another opportunity for Silicon Knights to start development on a new game or distribute Epic's proprietary information and code to others."

An e-mail to Silicon Knights had not been responded to as of press time.

Article supplied by Next-Gen

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