EA Sports sued for “anticompetitive” exclusivity deals

Tuesday, 16 October 2012 22:34 GMT By Brenna Hillier

A class action lawsuit will take on EA Sports on behalf of every US resident who purchased a new copy of Madden NFL, NCAA Football or Arena Football over the course of seven and a half years.

According to a preliminary approval obtained by DarkZero, the suit accuses EA Sports of “an unlawful and anticompetitive series of exclusive agreements with the National Football League, the NFL Players Union, Arena Football League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association”.

“Electronic Arts has driven its competition out of the market for interactive football software, including most significantly Take Two Interactive Software, Inc., the maker of the interactive football software title NFL 2K5 and has prevented additional competitors from entering the market,” the suit alleges.

The class action lawsuit argues that this business practise violates the rights of everyone in the US who purchased a new copy of EA’s football titles on any format between January 2005 and June 2012.

If successful, the suit hopes to block EA Sports from making further exclusive licensing deals.

“The Settlement provides that Electronic Arts will not enter into an exclusive trademark license with the AFL for five years from the date of approval of the Settlement; and that Electronic Arts will not renew its current collegiate football trademark license with the CLC on an exclusive basis for five years after it expires in 2014; and that Electronic Arts will not seek any new exclusive trademark license for the purpose of making football videogames with the CLC, the NCAA, or any NCAA member institution covered by the current exclusive license for five years after the expiration of the current CLC agreement.”

EA has denied any liability and all allegations of misconduct.