A jury has ruled in favour of original Madden programmer Robin Antonick, awarding him $11 million in damages in a suit against EA Sports.
A Californian District Court jury spent three days deliberating its verdict before ruling in Antonick's favour.
The pay out, which includes interest, is expected to be more than $11 million. Antonick's legal team intends to pursue additional compensation, which must be determined by a judge, and appeal the dismissal of fraud claims.
The ruling also opens the door to the second phase of Antonick's suit, which concerns games published after 1996. Revenues generated from 1997 exceed $3 billion. If he next phase of the trial goes the same way, Antonick could be in line for substantially greater damages.
Antonick sued EA Sports over unpaid royalties; his 1986 contract for the very first Madden game allegedly stipulated that he paid royalties on any derivative works.
Despite a judge's misgivings on the subject, the jury found that games released between 1990 and 1996 were "virtually identical" to the original Madden.
“This is a tremendous victory. In many ways, this trial was a test of each party’s version of events," attorney Rob Carey of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro said.
"The jury uniformly rejected the idea that this game was developed without Robin’s work. It is, if nothing, a good omen for the next phase of the litigation."