The Duke has been an icon for ages. Duke Nukem has fought off aliens, made cheap remarks and ultimately maintain his badass persona. Though when it comes to who owns the trademark and rights for future video game development, well that’s a bit of a mystery. Currently there are two developers going toe-to-toe in a heated legal battle for rights of the Duke.
Gearbox and 3D Realms are both after the rights of Duke Nukem which is leading to legal battles and possible cancelled video game titles. 3D Realms is owned by Interceptor Entertainment which they teased a new Duke Nukem title known as Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction. Once Gearbox got word of the IP, the development team quickly decided to sue the development studio for trademark violation.
Gearbox happened to brought out the Duke Nukem Forever title which was in development for over a decade. Somewhere down the line it seems that Gearbox acquired the trademark for Duke Nukem fully though 3D Realms stated the following at Polygon.
“It is our position that 3DR retains the right to develop the tentatively titled ‘Duke Nukem Survivor’ [working title for Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction] game for specific platforms. This game was previously licensed for development to Interceptor Entertainment. Furthermore, it is our position that the Trademark for ‘Duke Nukem’ was never assigned to Gearbox, but remains the sole property of 3DR.”
Apparently, the two development studios can’t come to an agreement so this will likely be a long legal battle fight. Gearbox has announced in the past that the development team had ideas for other Duke Nukem featured games while 3D Realms has their Mass Destruction title already teased.