It’s Ugly: Valve Sues Activision, Activision Threatens to Sue Valve

An ugly court action is underway and it involves a pair of video game titans.

On Tuesday Valve filed suit against Activision Blizzard in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The suit alleges that Activision refused to honor an agreement to abide by an arbitrator’s April 6th award decision involving a 2002 dispute over royalties.

The arbitrator in that case awarded Valve $2,391,932, an amount that Valve says is less than it sought, but which it will accept because both parties agreed to be bound by the arbitration process.

Activision, however, challenged the award, claiming that Valve had been overpaid by $424,136 in years past. For its part Valve alleges that Activision failed to properly raise this issue before the abitrator whom, the suit claims, refused to consider it for procedural reasons.

Against that backdrop, Activision cut Valve a check last week for $1,967,796 – the amount handed down by the arbitrator less the disputed $424K. According to Valve’s suit, Activision said that it wouldn’t pay the rest and if Valve went to court Activision would countersue. Valve has apparently called Activision’s bluff and the parties are now once again at odds.

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab a copy of the complaint… 

UPDATE: The original 2002 lawsuit was not against Activision, but instead targeted Sierra in a dispute over licensing Valve games to cyber-cafes. Sierra was owned by Vivendi, so when Activision merged with Vivendi in 2008 it inherited the Valve case in the deal.

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  1. 0
    Macknzie says:

    The law has a lot of provisions that basically come down to this: "Use it or lose it."  It’s the same sort of policy reasons that underlie statutes of limitations.  If you know you have a claim, you can’t just sit on it.  That’s all Valve seems to be saying here, and it’s pretty unremarkable.

    Whether Activision can recover in its own suit is a different matter, and the answer is not immediately clear to me–we need more facts.  Most likely, though, that’s what Activision will claim, either in a counterclaim here or in a separate suit.

  2. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    I don’t think it’s so much that Vivendi can’t raise the issue in a future case.  It’s that Vivendi agreed to abide by the arbitration, and Vivendi was told by the arbitrator to pay the $2.4M.  The $424K is now a separate issue, since they didn’t get it included in the arbitration.  They are still free to try to get it later, but they can’t just subtract it from the $2.4M they agreed to pay when they agreed to abide by the arbitration.

  3. 0
    Cerabret100 says:

    Maybe with the extra cash Valve will get off their asses and put Episode 3 out.



    ….oh who the hell am i kidding, i’ll have kids before that damn thing shows it’s face in even the tiniest screenshot.

  4. 0
    Cell says:

    Here’s my take on how that probably went. Valve and Vivendi went to arbitration. As part of that arbitration, Valve and Vivendi submitted documents, claims, counter-claims, etc. to the arbitrator before arbitration actually started. During arbitration, Vivendi brought up another issue that was not properly submitted to the arbitrator at the correct time and the arbitrator told them that they missed the boat on submitting it. And since Vivendi didn’t properly raise the issue in the arbitration, Valve is saying that they are estopped from raising that issue in any subsequent cases involving the same subject matter.

    I might be wrong on my analysis of that small section of the report, but that’s usually how these things work out.

  5. 0
    Seiena_Cyrus says:

    For its part Valve alleges that Activision failed to properly raise this issue before the abitrator whom, the suit claims, refused to consider it for procedural reasons.


    Am I miss reading it? It sounds kinda like Activision is saying they raised the issue with the Abitrator and the Abitrator blew them off because of some by the book non-sense…which isn’t completely un-heard of…but at the same time could be false…but still wanna make sure I’m reading it right that Activision is saying they talked to the Abitrator and the Abitrator said "Nope none of my concern!" So if it can be proven that the Abitrator denied to discuss it…doesn’t that give Activision something to cling to?

  6. 0
    chadachada321 says:

    My first thought too. But hey, all’s fair in love and war. If a particular part was never brought up in front of the arbiter when the arbiter decided…it’s Activision’s loss.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  7. 0
    gamadaya says:

    lol, isn’t everyone? When you sell Orange Box for $10, you can expect some consumer love.


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  8. 0
    Freyar says:

    If ValvE has gotten the difference earlier (whether through overpayments or not), then ValvE ought to lose the case. I am rooting for ValvE emotionally though.

    —- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians.

  9. 0
    SimonBob says:

    They’re disputing 424 large when the subscription rates for WoW alone must make that a little less than a rounding error?  They should just pay up and get on with nerfing Shamans or whatever it is they pay the devs to do.

    The Mammon Philosophy

  10. 0
    Krono says:

    When people sue to get money that’s owed to them, they can’t round up, and aren’t going to round down. And when money is owed, it tends to not be in round numbers, especially if it’s a percentage of something.


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