Guild Wars publisher NCsoft has launched legal action against the developer of forthcoming MMO TERA in an attempt to block its impending US launch.
According to court documents filed on 9th January and since obtained by MMOCulture, its trade secrets and unfair competition lawsuit claims that developer Bluehole Studio stole its software and assets. The Korean studio is comprised of former NCsoft employees who worked on the as yet unreleased Lineage 3.
"These individuals did not leave NCsoft empty-handed or with benign intent," the complaint reads.
"To the contrary, they made off with copious amounts of confidential and proprietary NCsoft information, computer software, hardware and artwork relating to Lineage 3.
"Their business plan was simple and audacious: create a competing product using the very work they had done while at NCsoft, launch it themselves to great fanfare and acclaim, and, in the process, deal a crippling blow to their former employer."
The Bluehole employees have already been convicted in South Korea of stealing trade secrets from NCsoft back in 2009.
Additionally, NCsoft lodged a civil complaint against them in Korea in 2010, winning damages and an injunction banning the Bluehole emploees from using NCsoft's proprietary information. However, the decision was later overturned.
Appeals in both cases are currently underway in Korea.
"It's not our policy to comment on legal matters," wrote a Bluehole community manager on the TERA forums earlier today.
As it stands, TERA is due to launch in Europe on 3rd May and in North America on 1st May. It's already been released in Korea.