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Madden designer wins first phase of suit against EA

Madden designer Robin Antonick has won the first phase of his lawsuit against EA for series royalties, at an estimated $11 million. A jury determined games from 1990-1996 were similar to his works.

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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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From The Chatty

  • reply
    July 24, 2013 8:15 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Madden designer wins first phase of suit against EA.

    Madden designer Robin Antonick has won the first phase of his lawsuit against EA for series royalties, at an estimated $11 million. A jury determined games from 1990-1996 were similar to his works.

    • reply
      July 24, 2013 9:01 AM

      Why didn't EA just settle this and not have it in the news? They could've settled for the amount of a few executives' stock options this year.

      • reply
        July 24, 2013 9:51 AM

        No one who normally buys Madden is going to stop because of this. I would guess that very few even know it's happening.

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        July 24, 2013 11:50 AM

        Good question. You gotta figure EA's probably done the math on what the payout would be. I'm guessing it might not be so bad to hurt them even including costs. In that case, always better to drag it out in hopes you can wear the little guy down. But, he own the first round and possibly the more critical round. The 2nd round is where he'll see the real money.

      • reply
        July 24, 2013 11:54 AM

        this is hardly a 'better keep it out of the news' issue, just a matter of which outcome they think will be cheaper

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      July 24, 2013 11:06 AM

      I hope that dude gets tons more money from EA

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      July 24, 2013 11:37 AM

      Is it just me or is this a scary precedent?

      Someone who worked for a game developer is entitled to money for their code being reused in a sequel?

      • reply
        July 24, 2013 11:50 AM

        No, it just happens to be the way EA wrote his contract. In hindsight, for the company, it was a bad thing to do.