Trial Date Set for Madden Designer’s Lawsuit Against EA
A lawsuit, brought against Electronic Arts, by one of the original designers of the Madden Football franchise, Robin Antonick, will go to trial on June 17th.
According to a release from Antonick’s legal team, a California federal judge denied EA’s “final attempt” to dismiss the lawsuit, which seeks “millions in allegedly unpaid royalties, punitive damages and disgorgement of all profits arising from the $5 billion Madden NFL franchise and related sports videogames.”
Antonick was on the development team for John Madden Football, released in the late 1980s for Apple II, Commodore and PC. It was the first football game to simulate true 11-man teams. It also featured realistic weather conditions, player injuries and penalties.
According to the lawsuit, “EA and Antonick signed a series of publishing and development contracts, culimating in a 1986 agreement that requires EA to pay him royalties on any dirivative works related to the original version of EA Madden, including current annual releases.” Antonick claims that he’s owed “millions of dollars,” saying that newer versions of Madden are still based on the code he developed twenty years ago. Antonick was aware of the annual releases of Madden franchise, but said he was unaware they were still using his designs until the release of the 20th Anniversary Madden NFL in 2008.
“We have very compelling evidence indicating that EA used Mr. Antonick’s ground-breaking code and design elements as the basis for both past and present Madden NFL titles,” said Robert Carey, one of Antonick’s attorneys. “Yet, EA has failed to compensate him as required by his agreement or give him proper credit for his work. We look forward to proving our case at trial, and we are very confident that we will prevail.”
Antonick’s lawsuit was originally filed in 2011. EA originally sought to dismiss the case, arguing that Antonick’s 20-year-old claims fell outside the statute of limitations and that he failed to successfully show that later versions of Madden NFL were derivative of his work, both of which were denied by a US District Court. This latest legal move is EA’s third and final attempt at a summary judgment, which would have kept the case from going to trial. If Antonick’s lawsuit is successful, he stands to receive millions in royalties from the lucrative franchise, which continues to see a new release every year.