Warner Bros.' Counterclaim In $80M 'Hobbit' Suit Can Proceed

Law360, Los Angeles (July 11, 2013, 9:55 PM EDT) -- A California federal judge on Thursday said Warner Bros.' allegation that J.R.R. Tolkien's estate breached an agreement over the rights to "Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" video games and gambling games wasn't a meritless retaliation for the estate's $80 million copyright suit.

The judge denied Fourth Age Ltd.'s attempt to dismiss the counterclaim, ruling that Warner Bros. Digital Distribution Inc., New Line Productions Inc. and other Warner Bros. affiliates developing the games weren't trying to sue the estate simply for being sued.

Despite whatever defense the entertainment companies might assert against Fourth Age's claims, a counterclaim is a routine legal...

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