Electronic Arts has lost a lawsuit against Robin Antonick, the original designer and developer of Electronic Arts’ (NASDAQ: EA) best-selling Madden NFL Football games. Antonick alleged that he had signed multiple publishing and development contracts, culminating in a 1986 agreement that required EA to pay him royalties on any derivative works related to the original version of EA Madden, including current annual releases. The agreement also prohibited EA from using his confidential information. EA contested this, claiming that later versions of the game on consoles were not derivative of Antonick's version on the PC.
A jury in the U.S. District Court (San Francisco) ruled in favor of Antonick on Friday, saying that the "statute of limitations on the charges" had not expired. Now the jury will determine what to award Antonick in unpaid royalties from more than $200 million in revenues for games released between 1990 and 1996, punitive damages and disgorgement of all profits arising from the Madden NFL franchise and related sports videogames, according to court filings. Damages relating to 1997-2013 games will be tried in a subsequent phase of the trial.
“This is a major validation of Mr. Antonick’s testimony,” said Rob Carey, Antonick’s attorney. “This was by far EA’s strongest defense, and the jury’s verdict unanimously supported Mr. Antonick, which also means the jury probably thinks some significant information was concealed.”
"Now the case goes to the merits, where we have irrefutable evidence," he continued. "We are confident that we will be able to demonstrate that EA failed to live up to its agreement with Mr. Antonick and lied to him about the use of his protected work product in the games."
Antonick is also represented by Leonard Aragon of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Stuart Paynter of the Paynter Law Firm.
More information about the lawsuit can be found here.