Our team understands the world of video, social and mobile gaming. We protect game industry leaders, start-ups, and individual developers from trademark, right of publicity, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and class action litigation.
Cases of Note
Robin Antonick v. Electronic Arts Inc.:
Robin Antonick, programmer of the John Madden Football video game for the Apple II that was released in 1988, alleged that EA owed him royalties on sales of all Madden Football video games over the last twenty-two years. Antonick claimed that all Madden games since 1990 are derivative works of the game he programmed, and he was therefore owed royalties under a 1986 contract with EA. On behalf of EA, we contended that none of Antonick’s source code, which was written for a more primitive platform and was outdated by the time it was released, was ever used in any subsequent Madden game. Although the jury found in favor of Antonik, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer later entered judgment for EA, reversing the award and strongly discouraging similar suits based on additional versions of the game. Judge Breyer's ruling was affirmed on appeal.
Dillinger LLC v. Electronic Arts Inc.:
We won summary judgment for Electronic Arts Inc in this right-of-publicity and trademark case. The heirs of John Dillinger alleged that EA improperly used the Dillinger name in a series of video games. Plaintiff sought damages and an injunction to prevent EA from selling the games. The court's orders not only affirmed EA's fundamental First Amendment right to design and publish its games, but also made clear that Indiana's right of publicity statute could not be applied retroactively to individuals who died before it was enacted. Law360 described the rulings as a "total victory" for EA.
Keller v. Electronic Arts Inc. et al:
We secured a favorable settlement for Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) in this groundbreaking antitrust and right of publicity class action. Current and former student-athletes claimed EA improperly used the athletes’ likenesses and biographical information in its NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball video games.
Netflix, Inc. v. Rovi:
We defended our clients Netflix, Inc. and Roku Corporation in a U.S. International Trade Commission complaint filed by Rovi Corporation. The complaint accused our clients, along with Mitsubishi Electric Corp., LG Electronics Inc., and Vizio Inc., of infringing several patents related to interactive program guides. The complaint sought an order banning television and media-player makers from entering the U.S. By the time of the trial, the other defendants had settled and our clients faced four patents. We successfully defended our clients at trial, with the ALJ finding one of the patents invalid and none of the patents infringed, as well as no actionable importation or available remedy. The ITC confirmed there was no violation. Rovi then pursued the matter in District Court with three of the same patents used in the ITC investigation as well as two additional patents. We won summary judgment of invalidity under Alice on all five asserted patents, which the Federal Circuit affirmed summarily.
Former Employee v. Netflix, Inc. and Amazon.com, Inc.:
We defended Netflix and several of its senior executives from a high-profile defamation and blacklisting lawsuit. The plaintiff departed Netflix for Amazon, and later claimed that Netflix retaliated against him by making defamatory statements about him, wrongfully accusing him of taking confidential information, and inducing Amazon to fire him. We filed an early special motion to strike plaintiff’s complaint against the Netflix defendants pursuant to California’s anti-SLAPP statute, explaining why the plaintiff’s claims against the Netflix defendants were entirely premised on protected and privileged speech and did not establish a viable claim. The court granted our anti-SLAPP motion in its entirety, dismissing all of the plaintiff’s claims against the Netflix defendants only 5 ½ months after the complaint was filed.
Individual v. Mobile Gaming Company:
The founders of a mobile gaming company were embroiled in an internal dispute over an alleged breach of fiduciary duty. On behalf of the company, we devised a successful resolution.
Developer v. Social Gaming Company:
In this breach of contract action, our client sued a social gaming company over the development rights of a prominent Facebook game. We were able to secure substantially better contract terms than the developer had originally negotiated.
Class Action Plaintiff v. Social Gaming Company: