THQ ends long-running WWE legal spat

THQ’s lengthy legal battle with WWE over a joint venture the publisher set up with toy firm Jakks Pacific has finally come to a close.

Wrestling organisation WWE had initiated legal proceedings as far back as 2004 under allegations of commercial bribery – it claimed Jakks had paid the former WWE licensing boss to grant it and THQ toy and game rights.

Now the publisher has agreed to pay $13.2m to the WWE to bring the matter to an end and dissolve the joint venture it established with Jakks in 1999. The firm will also pay $20m to Jakks over the next four years.

WWE and THQ have already announced future plans to put the legal spat behind them – the publisher has secured an eight-year exclusivity to make and publish wrestling games effective January 1st 2010.

"This agreement ensures that WWE games will continue to be an important cornerstone of THQ’s annual release schedule for the long term," said Brian Farrell, THQ president and CEO.

"We look forward to working directly with WWE to expand their brand in the video game space through continued game play innovation and increased online delivery of WWE content."

"This year’s highly rated WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 video game demonstrates the innovation and creativity that THQ brings to WWE," said Vince McMahon, WWE chairman and CEO. "This new licensing agreement will ensure that we continue our tremendous success in the video game industry in the years to come."

Donna Goldsmith, WWE COO added: "As one of the most successful video game brands, WWE is excited to work directly with THQ to translate WWE’s colorful characters and ever-changing content into exciting and fresh video games for our fans."

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