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Star Control legal battle intensifies as alleged settlement offer surfaces

Stardock's "unfathomable" demands reportedly include surrender of IP rights, a public apology, $225,000 and a five-year development ban

The ongoing fight for the Star Control franchise ramped up this week as developers Paul Reiche III and Frederick Ford released details of a settlement offer they claim to have been sent by Stardock.

The two developers built the original Star Control and Star Control II back in 1988 and 1992, and insist that they are both the creators and IP rights holders of the classic games. Stardock claims it purchased those rights in the 2013 auction that followed Atari's bankruptcy - although Reiche and Ford maintain they took back the rights before this occurred.

Reiche and Ford called out Stardock for continuing to sell the two games without their permission, prompting legal action from the development firm. A counterclaim was filed back in February.

In a blog post, the duo claims that both sides have attempted to make compromises - their current game is now described as "a sequel to the Ur-Quan Masters" (the suffix for the second game) rather than referencing Star Control, while Stardock removed images of the alien races they created from its website banner.

However, the developers also claim they have been sent an "unfathomable settlement offer" from Stardock, with a list of demands. Paraphrased by Reiche and Paul, these include:

  • The surrender of all IP rights to the classic Star Control games
  • The promise to not make any games similar to Star Control for the next five years
  • A public apology
  • A payment of $225,000
  • The promise to never use certain terms or trademarks
  • The promise to never challenge Stardock's ownership of Star Control, and to never call themselves the creators of the classic games

Polygon reports that Stardock has responded to Reiche and Paul's claims, insisting these representations of a settlement offer are "not accurate."

"The settlement discussion was protected by confidentiality, which Paul and Fred violated and then misrepresented and we are not at liberty to discuss it," the company continued. "We have made every effort to be respectful to and adhere to the preferences of Paul and Fred."

Reiche has since told the site he and his partner "stand 100 percent behind what we said in our post".

Alongside this battle, Stardock has been applied for around 20 new trademarks at the US Patent and Trademark Office, all for terms and names around the Star Control franchise - including The Ur-Quan Masters.

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