The video game Cooking Mama: Cookstar may be entertaining players in Pennsylvania, but the holder of the intellectual property behind the cooking game series says the publisher is missing an important ingredient: a valid licensing agreement. The Japanese company Office Create originally granted Planet Entertainment, the Cookstar publisher, a license to use the IP related to the game franchise. Due to a dispute about the game’s technical standards that arose just prior to publication, Office Create terminated the license. The company cited a material breach of the licensing contract.
A statement from Office Create alleged that Planet Entertainment failed to correct the problems that Office Create found in the game. According to Office Create, the publisher should have made technical corrections and obtained approval of the new version prior to releasing the game for sale.
Representatives of Planet Entertainment maintain that the publisher followed the approved game design exactly as it was described within the contract. The “creative differences” that emerged were not issues that the contract addressed. The publisher insists that it acted within the terms of the contract when it began public sales of the game. At this point, Office Create is exploring the option of taking legal action to protect its IP rights.
Although contracts attempt to state terms clearly and address all issues, differing interpretations between the parties may still result. When a person or company encounters what appears to be a breach of a contract, advice from an attorney who manages business litigation and disputes might clarify rights and legal options. An attorney may inform the opposing party about the legal dispute and propose a settlement. This effort might lead to private negotiations that resolve the problem. However, when confronted by continued opposition, an attorney may prepare a lawsuit for the client.