Activision, Viacom settle ‘Star’ wars

Legal battles find happy ending

HOLLYWOOD — Phasers have been powered down.

Vidgame publisher Activision and Viacom Consumer Products have settled a 2-year-old lawsuit over a license to make “Star Trek” games.

Activision filed a multimillion-dollar suit against Viacom in 2003, alleging that its lack of support for the “Trek” franchise violated the terms of a 10-year deal the publisher signed in1998 to make “Star Trek” vidgames.

Viacom countersued for up to $50 million, alleging breach of contract.

Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed, but Activision said the deal won’t materially impact its financial performance, meaning any money exchanged was likely minimal.

Following the finale of the recently cancelled “Star Trek: Enterprise,” there won’t be a “Star Trek” series on the air for the first time in decades. Paramount is in early development on its next “Trek” feature, meaning the franchise will be largely absent for the next few years.

The only place “Star Trek” is certain to continue outside of books, in fact, is in vidgames. It is unclear whether Paramount and Activision will continue working together on console games, but the studio recently signed a deal with indie publisher Perpetual Entertainment to make a multiplayer online PC game similar to “Everquest” that includes characters and locations from every “Star Trek” series.

Due to the popularity of “Trek,” particularly among gamers, it will likely remain a lucrative license. Studios have made a number of vidgame deals recently for well-regarded library titles including Paramount’s “Godfather” and Warners’ “Dirty Harry.”

Companies said in a statement that they “look forward to working together in the future on other projects.” Activision recently published a game based on Par’s “Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events.”

Activision shares closed up 1% at $22.98 on Friday before the settlement was announced, while Viacom stock was flat at $34.

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