Madden designer wins first phase of suit against EA

By Steve Watts, Jul 24, 2013 8:15am PDT

Robin Antonick, the designer of the original Madden NFL game, has won part of his case against EA. After three days of deliberations, the jury determined that Madden games released between 1990-1996 were similar to Antonick's designs, entitling him to an estimated $11 million. The final figure will be determined by the judge.

According to a press release from Antonick's law firm, the next phase of the trial will be focused on games released between 1997 and today. If the jury finds in his favor in that trial, the payout could be much higher. Antonick's attorneys also plan to seek additional compensation for disgorgement of profits, and to appeal previous rulings that excluded Super Nintendo games and fraud.

Antonick's case claims that according to a 1986 agreement with EA, he would be paid royalties on derivative works. EA allegedly withheld those payments, failing to pay millions of dollars in royalties.

"In many ways, this trial was a test of each party's version of events," Said Rob Carey, one of Antonick's attorneys. "The jury uniformly rejected the idea that this game was developed without Robin's work. It is, if nothing, a good omen for the next phase of the litigation."

EA's statement on the case, via Kotaku, implies that this legal battle isn't over. "While we're disappointed with the jury's verdict and will appeal, this has always been a case about games from the early 1990s, and it has no impact on today’s Madden NFL franchise," the company stated.

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