Back in 2012, the group that represents Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien filed an $80 million lawsuit against Warner Bros. The Tolkien Estate claimed that Warner Bros. was “usurping rights to which they are not entitled,” and the suit was stewing for years, until this week, when Warner Bros. and the Tolkien Estate announced a settlement, according to Variety.
As reportedly previously, the thrust of the case was the Tolkien estate’s assertion that Warner Bros. violated a decades-old rights agreement that allowed the company to create only “tangible” merchandise based on Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and not digital offerings. Warner Bros. countersued.
In its lawsuit, the Tolkien Estate named a number of categories of goods that it was not pleased with, but specifically noted that LOTR gambling games are problematic. “Not only does the production of gambling games patently exceed the scope of defendants’ rights, but this infringing conduct has outraged Tolkien’s devoted fan base, causing irreparable harm to Tolkien’s legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works,” reads a line from the suit.
As is often the case in these situations, terms of the settlement deal were not shared. However, the companies said they came to an agreement “amicably.” A spokesperson for Warner Bros. told Variety, “The parties are pleased that they have amicably resolved this matter and look forward to working together in the future.”
The next Lord of the Rings video game is this October’s Middle-earth: Shadow of War. On the movie front, there is a Tolkien biopic in the works, as well as another film that follows Tolkien’s relationship with Chronicles of Naria writer C.S. Lewis.