Meet Robin Antonick, who was awarded a huge settlement from Electronic Arts last summer. The win for Robin was to the tune of $11 million, and was in regards to a long running law suit against EA over the Madden Football franchise. Mr Antonick was a programmer and part of a team that worked on the first Madden game which was released in 1988. The law suit filled by Mr Antonick claimed that succeeding editions of the Madden games continued to use his source code, even though he hadn’t been paid royalties since 1992. In this case the jury agreed with Mr Antonick, giving him a windfall of $4 million in damages and also an extra $7 million in interest.
The Game that started this whole lawsuit
However all has not ended well for Mr Antonick, with a federal ruling on Wednesday that the original jury had no basis for concluding that later games in the Madden series had used Mr Antonick’s original source code. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer ruled that the jurors in the original case had no basis for reaching their conclusion to award Mr Antonick the $11 million award, because they relied on Mr Antonick’s expert witness but they were not shown the games side-by-side as required by law. Judge Breyer ruled that;
“Without the opportunity to view each of the versions of the later games, the jury had no basis for evaluating whether the changes the expert witness addressed altered each subsequent game. Because of this there is no evidence from which a reasonable juror could concluded that the games are virtually identical when compared as a whole.”
And this is the reason that U.S. District Judge Breyer used to have the case thrown out. Electronic Arts lead attorney Susan Harriman released this statement after the court case was thrown out;
“We are thrilled to see the claims resolved in favor of EA. As judge Breyer held, there is no evidence that any of the Sega Madden games are virtually identical to the Apple II game that Robin Antonick programmed. The evidence also proved that EA’s source code was not substantially similar to Antonick’s source code. As EA has maintained from day one, Antonick was fully compensated for his work on the Apple II game. Because Antonick had no involvement in the Sega Madden games, he had no entitlement to further royalties.”
While this is a big win for EA, Mr Antonick has said his lawyers will appeal the ruling. We will keep you updated on any further information that comes from this appeal.
Thank you The Escapist for the information provided