Amiga Flame - News - Amiga Inc and Hyperion Entertainment Locked in Legal Dispute

Amiga Inc and Hyperion Entertainment Locked in Legal Dispute

With AmigaOS 4 completed and new hardware on its way from different companies it was generally believed that 2007 was the year when the new Amiga platform would be officially launched. However, in what must be described as one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of the Amiga platform, Amiga Inc and Hyperion Entertainment are locked in a bitter legal dispute which will be a setback to the progress which has been achieved.

Amiga Inc which initiated the court action claimed in court documents that Hyperion had infringed upon their trademarks and breached their obligations under the licence agreement that allowed them to develop AmigaOS 4. In terms of the licence agreement, Bill McEwen said that Hyperion had been unable to complete OS 4 by the deadline of the 1st of March, 2002, they had marketed OS 4 beyond the scope of the licence agreement, and their use of the Amiga trademark was an infringement. However, much of his anger was focused on what he describes as “Hyperion's hijacking, holding hostage and refusal to release the code for OS 4.0” to Amiga Inc. It would appear that Amiga Inc now regards AmigaOS 4 “as the cornerstone of Amiga's revamped business plan to return as a major, if not the top, player in the computer industry”.

Hyperion Entertainment welcomed the opportunity to make their case in a court of law following over 18 months of unproductive negotiations with Amiga Inc. In court documents attorneys for the company pointed out that Amiga Washington, which had originally been involved in licence agreement, “had become insolvent, Amiga Delaware therefore has no rights under the contract” and Amiga Delaware had not complied with the requirements of the agreement which outlined that written consent of the different parties was required if these rights were to be transferred. Their anger was directed on Amiga Delaware claiming that it “is falsely trying to create the appearance that it has the right to take intellectual property that Hyperion had spent well over US $1,100,000 to develop”.

This sample from the court documents makes it clear that relations between the two companies have been deteriorating for well over a year. Although the court action may seem like the logical next step the judge warned the two parties; “when I see what some of these parties are putting into litigation I am blown away by the amount of attorney fees that are involved in these kind of cases. It is much better to resolve the matters amongst the parties if you can do that”. Calls for an amicable solution to be found have received widespread support from the Amiga Community which has been left feeling frustrated and shattered by the legal dispute.

About Amiga Inc
In December, 1999, Amino Development which was spearheaded by Bill McEwen and Barrie Moss, purchased Amiga Inc from Gateway for five million US dollars and a licence to use the Amiga patents. The corporate history of the company from this point is complex: at some stage in 2003, Amiga Inc began negotiations to sell their assets to Itec which had been an investor in the company since the original purchase of the assets from Gateway; later KMOS acquired Itec and changed their name to Amiga Inc. It should be noted that Amiga Inc of Washington closed their doors, while Amiga Inc of Delaware (formerly KMOS) is fully operational.

The ability of Amiga Inc (Washington) to deliver new and compelling products was blighted by financial woes and legal wranglings. In 2002, the company disappeared from its offices that were based in Snoqualmie with their belongings eventually auctioned off, and a year later Genesi took Amiga Inc to court for an alleged breach of contract which became a prolonged affair. However, Amiga Inc (Delaware) appears to be a sturdy vessel for the Amiga assets from a financial point of view. The company has been able to establish a foothold in India following the purchase of Ruksun, an article written for the Seattle Times claimed that they will pay a significant amount of money a year for the naming rights to the Kent events centre, and there are plans to redeem the coupons which Amiga users purchased.

About Hyperion Entertainment
In February 1999, Hyperion Entertainment, a privately held Belgium-German company was founded. The company's track record in the Amiga community was well-established as they were responsible for a steady stream of games that were converted to the platform – Heretic II, Quake, Shogo, and Freespace. Since November, 2001, the company has been working on AmigaOS 4 for PowerPC devices, bringing together dozens of Amiga developers in order to push the platform forward.

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