Harmony Gold’s Case Against Harebrained Schemes Dismissed!

Harebrained Schemes

Harebrained Schemes

The case against Harebrained Schemes has been dismissed according to the most recent document in the ongoing legal battle against Harmony Gold!

The document, titled “STIPULATION OF DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE,” confirms that the judge has dismissed the suit between Harmony Gold and BattleTech creators Harebrained Schemes. The news is fantastic for all BattleTech fans and even better for Harmony Gold haters around the world. By dismissing the charges with prejudice, the judge has effectively barred Harmony Gold from bringing forward a similar case in the future.

Thanks to user CeeSea for notifying me by posting the link in the previous article on this ongoing legal saga.

Before we break out the champagne, remember that Harmony Gold’s case against Harebrained was incredibly weak. The images supplied in their arguments to the judge looked so dissimilar that even a half-blind person wouldn’t mistake the two for the same ‘Mech.


via unitedstatescourts.org

As you can see, Harmony Gold was arguing that a Locust looked like a Marauder, or whatever the Robotech equivalent of the Marauder was (Destructoid Officer’s Pod or whatever). The two only share the vaguest of similarities, and arguing the two are the same is like trying to argue a gorilla is the same as a chicken. Sure, they both have four limbs, a brain, and are carbon-based lifeforms, but that’s where the similarities end.

So Harebrained Schemes is in the clear, but that still leaves the case between Harmony Gold and PGI, creators of MechWarrior Online and the upcoming MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. In that case, PGI did in fact use Unseen ‘Mechs in both games but updated them with their own unique flair to make them somewhat more intricate as befitting a modern video game.

But as we explained in our last post, PGI found previous court case decisions that found Harmony Gold to not even own the copyrights to the Unseen ‘Mechs, and thus have no grounds to sue. We’re still waiting on the judge’s decision on that argument, but this decision in favor of Harebrained is a promising sign.

We’ll be sure to keep you apprised as this court drama unfolds.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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About Sean

Hooked on BattleTech at an early age, Sean honestly can't remember whether it was the cartoon, the serial novels or the short-lived TCG that did him in. Whatever it was, his passion for giant shooty robots never died, so now he writes about the latest and greatest in 'Mech related news.

18 thoughts on “Harmony Gold’s Case Against Harebrained Schemes Dismissed!

    1. Gwtheyrn

      What document? The case was dismissed by the judge with prejudice. This means that the judge not only found it without merit, but to be malicious. It also means that HG cannot amend and refile the suit.

      1. Green

        Rule 41(a) means this was a voluntary dismissal and not by court order. This points more towards a settlement being reached between both parties.

  1. Patrick M. Rich

    So what does this mean? that we may get our newseen mechs after all? Or that the judge told harmony Gold it was full of shit on it’s more absurd claims?

    1. Flashpoint

      Dismissal with prejudice is legal-speak for “don’t bring this up again. Ever.” More accurately, if they try to file another lawsuit for the same reason, they can (and very likely would) be automatically found in the wrong for bringing the suit to court again and probably penalized for wasting everyone’s time on a matter that has been considered resolved, usually by being forced to pay court costs and lawyers’ fees for all involved.

  2. MathNerd

    This is great news for Battletech! The whole set of lawsuits was really an example of the legal system being manipulated to do harm against hardworking artists and game designers.

    With the up coming release of the new computer game on April 24th, BattleTech lovers have two reasons to remember April 2018 for a long time.

    There should be a tournament or massive online game to celebrate! :-D


  3. Chris Meadows

    This doesn’t necessarily mean Harebrained Schemes won. It could very well just mean they came to a settlement agreement with Harmony Gold, and so both sides requested the scheme be dismissed. There’s no rationale given in the notice—and if this came as part of a confidential settlement, like the one that ended the previous HG/FASA tussle, it’s likely we’ll never see one.

    1. Flashpoint

      It’s worth noting that a dismissal with prejudice indicates that HG have effectively been told to drop it and have electronically signed statements that they would do so. That’s a good sign for Battletech as it indicates that HG can’t change a few bits and bobs in their wording and file again.

      I should also note that a voluntary dismissal with prejudice is instituted by the plaintiff, not the defendant. Given HG’s previous desperate attempts to try and wrangle IP control rights to Macross imagery in the PGI case, I honestly don’t see them doing such. This smacks much more of a judge telling them to cut it out.

      1. Green

        It’s filed under 41(a) though which means HG did file for voluntary dismissal. They likely reached confidential terms for a settlement with Harebrained. I think what most likely happened is their lawyers decided that their tenuous claims against HBS would hurt their case against PGI.

  4. Shadosaber

    You realize that if you read that document, which I am guessing you have not. That this document means that Harmony Gold and Harebrained Schemes came to a mutual agreement that Harebrained Schemes has not impeded on the infringement of copyrighted material. the dismissal of charges with prejudice is there so neither side can go back and counter sue for this infringement case. sorry but Macross IP is not going to magically appear in the upcoming Battletech game.

    Doing some research also I found that Twentieth Center Imports was a US based company setup in Colorado. As a US based company they were have had to get any licensing agreements from Tatsunoko for International Merchandising rights. If Tatsunoko had sold these to them, Harmony Gold would not have been able to get them. The claims of FASA were they had the rights Harmony Gold did not have. which were Merchandising rights for Japan only. Rights that at the time Tatsunoko didn’t have. but Now does have. Tatsunoko owns all economic rights to SDF Macross. Big West owns Character/moral rights to the 41 designs. Tatsunoko and co-license owner now Harmony Gold can reproduce the 41 designs for merchandising purposes. They can not make derivatives of the 41 designs. They can not license the rights to make derivatives of the 41 designs. CGL, PGI, HBS and anyone else involved with Battletech need a license that allows for derivatives in order for you to get your unseens. Since HG can’t license that, you are in catch 22.

    PGI has broken copyright law by creating derivatives of the Macross IP. HG has to protect the Macross IP, at the will of both Tatsunoko and Big West. If they don’t protect it the Macross IP copyright will be nullified. This is the way that copyrights work. Belief that Big West is on your side and will let you have your stuff is not going to happen. PGI can’t win the case based on claim the IP is not infringement. So they are trying to get away with saying the wrong people are suing us. Only copyright owners can sue for copyright infringement.

    1. Ben

      Tatsunoko’s license to HG granted HG exclusive rights excepting merchandising in japan.
      However Tatsunoko did not OWN all of the rights they sold HG.

      The right to visual depictions of & derivative works of the 41 original macross character designs are owned by Big West through their ownership of Studio Nue.

      Whether the FASA license through TCI is legitimate is irrelevant in this case.
      Big West has the right to sue FASA’s licensees over derivative works of those designs, Tatsunoko & Harmony Gold do not.

      The chances of Big West bringing suit at this point over battletech infringing on the macross IP are remote given that they have been aware of that infringement since at least when FASA commissioned them to produce the replacement art for the Japanese version of Battletech over 30 years ago.
      Big West apparently considered their arrangements with TCI & FASA legit at the time, and they are confirmed as the actual owners of the IP in question. “the visual depiction of 41 characters” + derivative works.

    2. Nemo

      “If they don’t protect it the Macross IP copyright will be nullified. This is the way that copyrights work.”
      No, they don’t. Thishasn’t ever happened and there are no grounds for it to happen.

      It is just a blurb of text to support absurd litigation with no legal precedent or support.

  5. Zack

    Can HG just fking dies for christ sake? They just keeping wasting their own money with these lawsuits but also keep kicking themselves in the foot. FUCK OFF HARMONY GOLD!

  6. Doug

    “or whatever the Robotech equivalent of the Marauder was (Destructoid Officer’s Pod or whatever)”

    Real professional, definitely helps the image of the Battletech community.

    It always irked me that the Battletech community seems to think that the entire identify of their beloved IP hinges upon designs that have nothing to do with it in the first place. It’s unfortunate that the property is largely incapable of coming up with unique and better ideas than unrelated mecha designs that are over 35 years old.

  7. Miguel Arzak

    Doug, it is not a matter of redesign. Battletech Mecha had been redesigned easily 4 or 5 times now. They even evolved their fluff technology to be completely different in nature than the original Macross mecha (Dougram mecha seems the most similar fluff-wise i think), except for some universal commonalities such as myomers or computer controls.

    HG is the shitty company that could not come with anything interesting or remotely juicy for more than frikking 30 years here. I was a Robotech fan in the 80s and 90s, i LOVED the original series, i had little or no interest in Battletech (least of all in their animations), but in these 30 years Harmony Gold had not produced anything but underpair, bad-written, cannon-rapist trash products (starting with those glorified rookie-level fanfics that they call “novels”, worst sci fi saga ever written), while the diverse owners of the Battletech franchise had provided their fan base with reliable, regular, standard-quality products expanding and enriching their universe more and more. Back in the 80s, whom you think that had more fans? Whom had more now?

    And what HG do? keep lawsuiting for things that had been redesigned for 30 years. They seem not wanting to stop until Battletech universe cripples their countinuity taking out these MODELS (the MODELS using the original designs, not the designs themselves) and rewritting whole the period where they appear, not mention them ever again (crippling the continuity also) or pay rights by lawsuit every time. From a Company that had given their fan community (a community that recently raised 5 million to crowfund a tabletop game that ALSO failed) nothing but TRASH for 30 years, this has a name: Parasitism,

    The best thing that may happen to Robotech and their fans is thet HG is broken by their own lawsuits, forced to sell the franchise and be bought by someone ready to finally give it some love. Battletech owners would be excellent candidates, judging for their work.

  8. Destraex

    I still do not understand if this means harebrained schemes can use unseen mechs now or this whole lawsuit was about something else entirely. Something even more ridiculous.


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