A district court decision means EA won’t have to face fraud charges in an ongoing suit brought against the publisher by original Madden programmer Robin Antonick.
Bloomberg reports district judge Charles Breyer ruled that Antonick had failed to state a claim for fraud”.
The suit will continue, but the only question up for dispute is whether EA broke its 1986 contract by not paying Antonick royalties on the whole Madden franchise.
The judge did not seem confident that Antonick’s suit will stick; he said the jury will be asked whether other versions of Madden are sufficiently similar to Antonick’s 1986 original to warrant the “thin” copyright claim. EA has denied using Antonick’s code in subsequent Madden games.
The trial is expected to resume on July 9.
Antonick is after damages of $16 million and close to $200 million in royalties from Madden games released before 1996. Reports of the dispute first broke in April 2011 but the case took a while to build up steam. Two years later, a district court allowed the case through despite some qualms, and although EA argued that the statute of limitations had passed, another district court session found the case valid.
The Madden franchise has shifted over 85 million units with revenue of over $4 billion in its 20 year history.