United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Bubble Pony, Inc., a Minnesota Corporation and Patrick J. Glynn, Plaintiffs,
Facepunch Studios Ltd., Facepunch Limited, Facepunch Group Limited, and Garry Newman, Defendants.
Brittany N. Resch, Esq., Daniel E. Gustafson, Esq., Daniel C.
Hedlund, Esq., and Michelle J. Looby, Esq. and Gustafson
Glueck PLLC, and Stuart M. Paynter, Esq., Jennifer Murray,
Esq., Sara Willingham, Esq., and Celeste H.G. Boyd, Esq. and
The Paynter Law Firm, PLLC, counsel for plaintiffs.
A. Wind, Esq. and Pamela Abbate-Dattilo, Esq. and Fredrikson
& Byron, PA, and Erin Jones, Esq. and Ryan Tyz, Esq. and
Tyz Law Group PC, counsel for defendants.
S. Doty, Judge
matter is before the court upon the motion for partial
summary judgment by plaintiffs Bubble Pony, Inc. and Patrick
J. Glynn. Based on a review of the file, record, and
proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the motion
allegations at the center of this business dispute were set
forth in the court's previous order on defendants'
motion to dismiss. See ECF No. 40. Because discovery
in this case is still ongoing, the court will recite only
those facts necessary to resolve this motion.
Facepunch is an English company, majority owned by defendant
Garry Newman. In September 2010, Newman hired Glynn as a
computer programmer for video games produced by Facepunch.
Tyz Decl. Ex. 1. In June 2012, Glynn began work on a video
game entitled “RUST.” Am. Compl. ¶ 28. The
parties dispute to what degree Glynn was supervised and how
much of his contribution was original. See id.
¶¶ 28-34; Tyz Decl. Exs. 5, 6; Berry Dep. at 219.
2013, Facepunch released a limited version of RUST and
officially offered RUST for sale in August. In December,
Facepunch released RUST more widely on “Steam, ”
a gaming platform. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 33, 53. Glynn
received over $700, 000 in payment for his work on
RUST. Tyz Decl. Ex. 12 at 2.
2014, Facepunch fired Glynn purportedly due to his
unnecessarily complex coding and poor performance.
See Tyz Decl. Exs. 6, 8, 10. On January 22, 2015,
Glynn registered the June 2013 version of RUST as a joint
work with Facepunch and filed an application to register the
August 2013 version. Am. Compl. ¶ 59. Based on this
copyright and his alleged original contributions, Glynn
claims that he is a joint author of RUST and that defendants
owe him an accounting of the profits made from RUST.
Id. ¶¶ 282-288.
March 12, 2015, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint
alleging a variety of contract, tort, and equitable claims
against Facepunch and Newman. On December 7, 2015, the court
dismissed most of plaintiffs' claims except those for
tortious interference with prospective economic advantage;
unjust enrichment; accounting; and declaratory judgment of
joint authorship. Defendants assert the affirmative defenses,
among others, of implied license, acquiescence, and
assignment. Plaintiffs now move for partial summary judgment
as to those affirmative defenses.
Standard of Review
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A fact is material only when its
resolution affects the outcome of the case. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute
is genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a
reasonable jury to return a verdict for either party. See
id. at 252 (“The mere existence of a scintilla of
evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be
insufficient ....”). On a motion for summary judgment,
the court views all evidence and inferences in a light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Id. at 255. The
nonmoving party, however, may not rest upon mere denials or
allegations in the pleadings but must set forth specific
facts sufficient to raise a genuine issue for trial.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. A party asserting that a
genuine dispute exists - or cannot exist - about a material
fact must cite “particular parts of materials in the
record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). If a plaintiff
cannot support each essential element of a claim, the court
must grant summary judgment because a complete failure of
proof regarding an essential element necessarily renders all
other facts immaterial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23.
Affirmative Defenses ...