Earlier this week, Techgage reported on the many issues facing Electronic Arts and things just seem to be getting worse for the gaming giant. On Tuesday, a California federal judge denied EA’s final attempt to dismiss a case that was filed over two years by Robin Antonick. The suit claims that Robin was the original designer and developer of the Madden video game franchise for the Commodore 64, MS-DOS and Apple II in 1986.
According to the lawsuit, during the development Robin was told by EA that his advancements in accurately simulating 11×11 football, along with other technological advances, was “miraculous”. The suit says that Robin and EA had entered into a series of publishing and development contracts where EA would pay him royalties on any similar products and future projects based on his original works. The suit claims that EA has not paid Robin the millions of dollars owed to him in royalties.
The case is currently being handled Hagens Berman’s Intellectual Property Group, a firm solely dedicated to intellectual property cases. Hagnes Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP partner, Robert Carey, made this statement: “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. 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.”
This isn’t the first time EA has gone to court over the Madden or its other football franchises. Just last year a lawsuit representing nearly 6,000 retired NFL players went to court for using their likenesses without consent, after EA spent years trying to dismiss that lawsuit as well. EA has a had its share of victories; it successfully dismissed a separate lawsuit for using college player likenesses without permission in its NCAA Football games.
The Madden franchise is a big name and naturally it makes big bucks, so it isn’t surprising that EA is facing some legal hurdles because of it, but if either of the cases swing the wrong way for EA, it could mean the end of EA as we know the company today. I am not a lawyer nor do I know how this looks for EA at the present time, but the fact that both of these cases have moved forward after years of EA trying to dismiss them does not seem like a very positive sign at this point.