The sad thing is the Herbert estate has been doing this for a while now since Frank Herbert died.
Indeed, it seems like Frank's son thinks of himself as the only one entitled to do anything with the franchise. Sadly, he has the legal power to make this so.
It's a same someone can't get the original manufactures name and hence license to reprint it, but I don't think that would work, as the Herbert Estate would file legal action.
Well, FFG did purchase the rights to the board game itself (from Avalon Hill, IIRC.) The original game designers for the Dune Board Game (Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge and Peter Olotka) were all involved in helping FFG update the game to make REX.
Unfortunately, owning the original board game is not enough to authorize the use of the Dune franchise.
So, REX is a proper reprint/updated edition of Dune in every respect, except the theme. It's unfortunate that the theme is such a big part of the original game that its absence still makes such a dent. However, I know FFG did everything they could to remake Dune as Dune.
Edited by Steve-O, 01 January 2015 - 03:35 PM.