Back in 2013 Geek Native reported that Jeff Dee and Jack Herman of Monkey House Games had won their legal battle with Fantasy Games United over the ownership of Villains and Vigilantes. Now it seems that the battle will rage on.
Villains and Vigilantes was created by Jack Herman and Jeff Dee in 1979 and published by Fantasy Games United. The designers argue that in 2011 Fantasy Games United ceased to exit and so the game’s ownership should revert back to them.
The pair lost the initial court cases. In 2012 a US Federal Court ruled in favour of Scott Bizar and Dee and Herman were found guilt on defamation and unfair business practice. A year later, the US District Court of Arizona found that Dee and Herman owned all the copyrights to the game and that FGU had been using that copyrighted material without permission. Lastly, the same court found that FGU had abandoned any claims to the trademark title due to lack of use.
The new legal battle has come to light via a GoFundMe page created by the Monkey House Games pair. They explain that they’re being sued for the use of the trademark term Villains and Vigilantes. If they lose that case they lose the right to use “Villains and Vigilantes”. Effectively, that means they can’t publish the game.
At the time of writing the GoFundMe campaign has raised over $11,000 but has target of $50,000. The new trial will happen in 2016, with a settlement conference with a judge due in January and a district court judge to resolve any open issues in February.
Dee and Herman are working on a Villains and Vigilantes 3.0 which will be released if they are able to navigate through the litigation.