Antonick developed the original game under a 1986 software development agreement with EA, which promised him royalties on the game that he developed, as well as any games derived from the original game. Antonick’s lawsuit, which was filed by The Paynter Law Firm in April 2011, claimed that after Antonick stopped developing games for EA, the company went on to use his original source code to develop later versions of Madden Football, without paying him the royalties due under the 1986 agreement.
EA claimed throughout the lawsuit that it had not used Antonick’s work to develop later games, but the jury yesterday decided otherwise. The jury found that the plays of the later games were “substantially similar” to those of Antonick’s original game, and that on the whole the games were “virtually identical.”
The verdict was the second major blow dealt to EA by the jury in this case, which previously rejected EA’s attempts to argue that the case should be dismissed because Antonick brought it too late.
Yesterday’s verdict will require EA to shell out millions to Antonick in past-due royalties, as well as accumulated interest on those royalties.