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Madden designer suit against EA going to trial [update]

Original Madden designer Robin Antonick has won the first phase of his case against Electronic Arts, alleging unpaid royalties for derivative works based on his design from the 1980s.

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Update: The story originally incorrectly stated that Electronic Arts had lost the case brought against it by Robin Antonick. The story has been corrected below.

Electronic Arts has been denied its final attempt to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by Robin Antonick, the designer of the original Madden game. Antonick is seeking unpaid royalties, punitive damages, and disgorgement of profits. The trial is scheduled to begin on July 17.

According to his representative's firm (via GamePolitics), Antonick's series of publishing and development contracts entitles him to royalties on any derivative works made from his original creation, including the current annual releases. He alleges that EA has not paid him millions in royalties, and hasn't kept his work confidential as stated in their contract.

The press release from his representatives states that the jury will be tasked with determining royalties from the $200 million in revenues between 1990 and 1996, with the era from 1997-2013 coming at a later phase of the trial. Friday's ruling regarded whether the statute of limitations had expired on filing a lawsuit. The jury ruled that Antonick did not suspect, and would not have known, about any wrongdoing before 2005.

"We have very compelling evidence indicating that EA used Mr. Antonick's ground-breaking code and design elements as the basis for both past and present Madden NFL titles," said Robert Carey, one of Antonick’s attorneys. "Yet, EA has failed to compensate him as required by his agreement or give him proper credit for his work. We look forward to proving our case at trial, and we are very confident that we will prevail."

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 24, 2013 7:30 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, EA loses suit against original Madden designer.

    Original Madden designer Robin Antonick has won the first phase of his case against Electronic Arts, alleging unpaid royalties for derivative works based on his design from the 1980s.

    • reply
      June 24, 2013 7:56 AM

      Nice that the little (?) guy is getting his due. Too bad EA will attempt to bury it, and him, with appeals and legal paperwork. He may never actually see a dime of this initial verdict.

      I wonder if courts are starting to do initial immediate awards to prevent stall tactics like that.

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        June 24, 2013 8:10 AM

        I think if he got a good law office helping him and they smell blood, the law office will stay on it until a payout is made so they can get a cut.

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          June 24, 2013 8:34 AM

          I was semi thinking more about the fact this guy is probably in his 50's, or even 60, by now; assuming he was like 25-30 back in 1988 when he made the original game. I guess that's young enough to wait out a few years of legal stalling. I guess my point is slightly moot then. But, you get my idea.

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      June 24, 2013 8:01 AM

      whoa. could that be a lot of money?

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      June 24, 2013 8:13 AM

      EA is the Devil.

    • reply
      June 24, 2013 8:13 AM

      but madden runs on a different engine then it did back in the old days i don't think they guy should have won the case only because it was so long ago contracts have expiration dates im sure it has run out by now. not to stick up for EA but thats a nice chunk of cash that is being taken away that could be put into new games instead of making someone who is probably already rich richer. court system is backwards anyway

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        June 24, 2013 8:26 AM

        According to him, and the jury agrees, he was supposed to get royalties from all derivative works. No expiration. Nothing about engine bullshit. EA would be paying a lot less if they had just stuck to the agreement and paid him.

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        June 24, 2013 8:27 AM

        I'd leave it up to the people involved with the case to decide the validity of the contract.

      • reply
        June 24, 2013 8:30 AM

        I see that you have no idea how royalties work. Or the court system, or developers (when was the last "RICH" developer).

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        June 24, 2013 8:36 AM

        Has nothing to do with the tech. This is all about the game design elements. How the game plays, and what makes it a Madden game vs any other football game. Besides the turducken-one's name on the box.

    • reply
      June 24, 2013 8:32 AM

      Every site is misreporting this story. In the most basic terms, EA argued that Antonick couldn't sue because the statute of limitations had expired. The jury found otherwise, meaning that the case could proceed. EA hasn't lost. Antonick hasn't won. The case isn't over; it's just starting.

      • reply
        June 24, 2013 9:31 AM

        that is an important distinction

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        June 24, 2013 9:36 AM

        Oh wow, yeah the lawsuit is now Just starting

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        June 24, 2013 9:38 AM

        Statute of limitations! That's the term I was looking for.

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        June 24, 2013 9:39 AM

        Yeah I was really confused about the case being decided so soon. Need to note that this was pretrial and they can still settle easily at this point.

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        June 24, 2013 9:53 AM

        Yeah, per the other gaming site link they said 'lost,' but their link to the law firm: http://hb-ip.com/our-work/MaddenNFL - says the last attempt to dismiss has failed and they're about to *go* to trial

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        June 24, 2013 9:54 AM

        modern journalism FTL

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        June 24, 2013 11:55 AM

        Yes you are correct. I read through the documentation after the story had already gone live on our site. Thank you for pointing out the error--we'll make sure to avoid mistakes like this again in the future.

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          June 24, 2013 12:41 PM

          you know ea's going to lose this anyway, you're just prescient <3

        • reply
          June 24, 2013 12:53 PM

          Shouldn't you read through all of the details of a story before you post it?

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          June 24, 2013 7:02 PM

          Just know that the wheels of justice will always grind slowly.

        • reply
          June 24, 2013 7:05 PM

          Obamacare has been repealed!

    • reply
      June 24, 2013 9:05 AM

      Oh shit, that fucker is going to make BANK.

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        June 24, 2013 9:19 AM

        Through creative accounting it turns out Madden has actually cost EA money each year and now the developer owes EA money. Directed by M Night Shamwow.

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          June 24, 2013 9:41 AM

          That's how Hollywood studios do it when someone says they are owed money from a movie.

          • reply
            June 24, 2013 12:26 PM

            What was it. Lord Of The Rings or something that, as far as profit percentages, lost money for the studio? (It may not have been LotR, but some equally ridiculously successful movie)

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              June 24, 2013 6:59 PM

              I can't check right now, but I seem to recall a story about David Prowse (I think) saying he was owed a bunch of royalties from Star Wars but the studio keeps using some silly accounting to say the films weren't profitable enough or at all.

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        June 24, 2013 9:29 AM

        I bet thats what he thought before too

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      June 24, 2013 9:38 AM

      Look I'm all for the guy and all but how come he is allowed to file for this nearly 30 years after the fact? Doesn't he have a limited time to file a claim like that (I forgot the American legal term for that)?

      That's like a patent troll waiting for a rich company to hurt their patent while they are aware for years that others are doing it and they never react until they can actually make bank.

      • reply
        June 24, 2013 7:24 PM

        Statute of limitations. I always found it funny that the abbreviation for statute of limitations also stands for shit outta luck.

    • reply
      June 24, 2013 12:18 PM

      Update - The story originally incorrectly stated that Electronic Arts had lost its case against Robin Antonick. The story has been corrected.

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