news\ Jul 24, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Original Madden programmer wins $11 million in lawsuit against EA

Madden on Commodore

Robin Antonick, the original designer and developer of Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL Football games, has been awarded more than $11 million after a jury in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California today ruled a lawsuit against EA in his favor. Antonick developed the first Madden title in 1988 for MS-DOC, Commodore, and Apple II platforms. In 2011, he sued EA for unpaid royalties.

The case alleges that "EA and Antonick signed a series of publishing and development contracts, culminating in a 1986 agreement that requires EA to pay him royalties on any derivative works related to the original version of EA Madden, including current annual releases, and prohibits EA from using his confidential information. The lawsuit claims that EA failed to pay millions of dollars in royalties owed to Antonick and to keep his work confidential as required by the contract."

The court's ruling also gives Antonick the ability to pursue the same claims against EA for games released after 1996, where revenues exceed $3 billion.

“This is a tremendous victory,” said Rob Carey, partner at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and one of Antonick’s attorneys. “In many ways, this trial was a test of each party’s version of events. 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.”

If the law firm sounds familiar, that's because they are the same firm in charge of the Ed O'Bannon suit which alleges EA and the NCAA owe student athletes royalties for using their likenesses without permission. The firm believes their litigation is directly tied to the NCAA's decision to not renew its contract with EA for future college football games. Despite the NCAA's decision, EA will continue to make college football games and recently signed an extension with the Collegiate Licensing Company.

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