Stardock Owns Star Control Trademark (Pending)

Introduction

The Atari auctions are now completed. A three-page court document has been released with the results of the July 18 auctions.

Stardock Systems (Sins of a Solar Empire, Demigod, Galactic Civilations) is the highest bidder for Star Control with On The Go Technology LLC (a mortgage technology development company).

Asset(s) Successful Bidder Back-up Bidder
Backyard Sports Franchise Epic Gear, LLC N/A
Humongous Franchise, Fatty Bear’s Birthday Surprise, Math Gran Prix Tommo, Inc. N/A
Total Annihilation Franchise Wargaming World Limited Uber Entertainment, Inc.
Battlezone Franchise Rebellion Interactive Games Limited Tommo, Inc.
Master of Orion Franchise Wargaming World Limited Stardock Systems, Inc.
Moonbase Commander Franchise Rebellion Interactive Games Limited N/A
Star Control Franchise Stardock Systems, Inc. On The Go Technology, LLC

– July 19 2013, “Notice of Successful and Back-Up Bidders with Respect to the Auctions of Certain of the Debtor’s Assets”, 13-10176-jmp, Docket# 305

As of this post, the auctions have not been officially paid for and will take place on July 24:

The Sale Hearing is currently scheduled to be held on July 24, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. (prevailing Eastern time) at the United States bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Alexander Hamilton Custom House, One Bowling Green, New York, New York 10004, before the Honorable James M. Peck, United States Bankruptcy Court Judge, to consider the Debtors’ selection of the highest or otherwise best bid(s) and the approval of the Sale Transaction. The Sale Hearing may be adjourned or rescheduled without notice.
– July 19 2013, “Notice of Successful and Back-Up Bidders with Respect to the Auctions of Certain of the Debtor’s Assets”, 13-10176-jmp, Docket# 305

So, what does this mean for Star Control? We know that Brad Wardell has expressed interest in Star Control years ago. I do believe that we may have a new Star Control game coming in the future. With Stardock’s strong stance against DRM, we know it will be developed and published with the same high standards as their other games. I would love to see their interpretation of Star Control franchise and whether or not it can be successful. Please keep in mind that Toys for Bob still retains ownership of the original content such as the aliens, characters, and ships. Stardock would still need their permission to use the Ur-Quan, for example. The direction they want to take with Star Control is up to them. Stardock can potentially own the Master of Orion franchise should Wargaming decide to pass on it.

But wait, there’s more…

I found another document that outline contracts “relating to the Assets upon consummation of the Sale Transaction”. Some things listed are “Amazon.com” for “Digital Distribution” under “Battlezone Agreements”. Check out what’s listed under “Star Control”:

Star Control 3 Agreements

Contracting Party Atari Party Agreement Type Est Cure Amount as of 06/21/2013
Reiche, Paul Accolade, Inc. License Agreement $0.00
Cyberlore Studios, Inc. Accolade, Inc. Development Agreement $0.00
Fat Labs, Inc. Accolade, Inc. Master Lease License for Computer Game Use $0.00
GameFly** Atari, Inc. Digital Distribution $0.00
GOG Limited (Good Old Games)** Atari, Inc. Digital Distribution $0.00

**Agreement will require partial assignment

– July 11 2013, Notice of Attempt to Assume and Assign Certain Executory Contracts, 13-10176-jmp, Docket# 296

Does this mean that Paul will be involved in a potential Star Control sequel in the future?  After all, he still retains ownership of the game’s content such as the Ur-Quan and Ilwrath.

There’s another document (Docket# 306) that lists a proposed purchase of Accolade.com (currently redirects to atari.com) from “Accolade, Inc.” for $50,000.

PLEASE TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that pursuant to the De Minimis Sale Procedures, the Debtors propose to sell the following De Minimis Asset (the “De Minimis Sale“):

Asset(s) Proposed Buyer Known Affiliation with the Debtors Proposed Purchase Price Justification
“Accolade.com” domain Accolade, Inc. None. $50,000.00 Only offer received

– July 19 2013, Notice of Proposed Sale of Certain De Minimis Assets, 13-10176-jmp, Docket# 306

Conclusion

Stardock is the highest bidder for Star Control, with On The Go Technology LLC as the back-up bidder. There will be a hearing on July 24 which will finalize these bids.  In an interview with Gamasutra, CEO Brad Wardell has stated he wanted to make a sequel true to Star Control II, pretending that the third game never happened. Stardock has the fanbase, developers and the publishing power to make a true Star Control game. I’d love to see what they have in store for the future.  Their stance against DRM makes their products more accessible for PC gamers without worrying about things such as modding, re-installs and backups.

With Paul’s name listed as “License Agreement” under “Star Control 3 Agreements”, there’s definitely plenty of hope for Star Control.  However, my interpretation of legal documents is purely guesswork.  However, if Stardock wanted to make a sequel to Star Control II, they’d have to get Paul Reiche involved somehow.  Therefore the idea of a Star Control sequel with a strong TFB influence is still possible.

The fact that there is a back-up bidder for Star Control means the bid is obviously greater than $100,000. Does this mean Stardock will get a cut of the GOG.com sales of Star Control? This is another page for “video game politics”.

What do you think about Stardock’s pending ownership of Star Contro and a potential sequel?  Is Accolade making a comeback?  If there there is anyone out with legal experience, I’d love to hear what you think about this recent update.

Looking forward to the future…

Links
Brad Wardell Wants To Make a New Star Control?
Brad Wardell’s Website
BMC Group – Atari Public Bankruptcy Court Documents
Atari SA Corporate Website
Stardock website
On The Go Technology, LLC

6 Responses to “Stardock Owns Star Control Trademark (Pending)”

  1. After all these years dare I get my hopes up?

    No, I'd probably better wait for the official announcement. Glad to know where I can turn for it...
  2. I hear you. Nothing's set in stone...
  3. http://www.littletinyfrogs.com/article/446878/Back_from_the_Atari_auction
  4. Thanks for the link, Frumple. I especially link his closing statements:

    "We went there to get two items in particular. One in particular we really really wanted because we are insane fans of the series. That one we got. The other we wanted we didn’t get, we were the second highest bidder.

    I imagine there will be announcements next week by the new IP holders to whom I congratulate. It’ll be good to see these awesome games brought back in one form or other."
  5. Anthony,

    As a long time lurker, I want to thank you so much for doing the legwork on keeping abreast of these developments in the auctioning off of Atari's properties, and being the first to post about it and also attempting to fill in the potential legalities of it as well. I'm so glad I have your blog in my news reader and so amazed and thrilled to hear this news. I know Brad Wardell is a genuine fan of the series and has had it in his sights for years. I have spoken with Paul Reiche here and there over the years by email and even on the phone once as well; I asked him about the intellectual property situation about two years ago in between questions about the release of Star Control on Good Old Games, and he claimed when I asked him about Stardock's potential interest and ownership of the property and/or their possible collaboration with TFB for development of a sequel that he did not even know of Brad Wardell or Stardock . I reckon that will be changing a lot in the very near future! =)

    The notion of the series being "rebooted" for a new audience with digital distribution to give it the recognition it deserves makes me so happy and fulfilled after literally a lifetime of waiting. I couldn't ask for the property to be in better hands than Stardock's; I have faith that Brad Wardell understands exactly how to give Star Control an amazing rebirth and can't wait to see what the future holds.
  6. No problem, Martin. I'm hoping for the best. It's going to be a while until we hear about upcoming projects. This time, they'll do more than just create a bare-bones Flash game, now that they have the trademark.

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