EA Sports has successfully has its $11 million judgement in favor of Madden Football creator Robin Antonick overturned.
Yesterday, US district judge Charles Breyer overturned the ruling stating that the jury, by law, was not shown the original game created by Antonick alongside Madden NFL games created through 1996. Therefore, the jury could not make a proper decision on the case, due to not being shown side-by-side comparisons.
“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) addressed altered each subsequent game,” judge Breyer said.
“[There was ] no evidence from which a reasonable juror could conclude that the games are virtually identical when compared as a whole.”
Breyer’s dismissal of the case was met with an appeal filed by Antonick’s attorneys.
“The evidence showed they used his source code without permission,” said his attorney Robert Carey.
EA has responded to the dismissal stating it is “thrilled to see the claims resolved in favor of EA.”
“It was the right result. 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,” said EA in a prepared statement. “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.”
The jury awarded $11 million to Antonick in July of 2013, which includes $4 million in damages plus interest.
Antonick sued EA Sports over unpaid royalties which according to his 1986 contract allegedly stipulated that he be paid royalties on any derivative works.