Robin Antonick, the original programmer of Madden, won his lawsuit against Electronic Arts over royalties owed to him for not just the games he developed with his code, but derivative works as well. Antonick is to be awarded $11 million in damages.
In 1988, Antonick was the developer for the original Madden released on Commodore, Apple II and MS-DOS. His contract in 1986 granted him royalties for the games he developed and for derivative works, i.e. any subsequent Madden game developed by EA.
The Madden series has proven to be one of the most lucrative of EA’s properties, making an estimated revenue of $3 billion from 1996 until now alone.
After three days of deliberations, the jury found the Madden games from 1990 to 1996 to be “virtually identical” to the original version developed by Antonick. Antonick’s lawyer, Rob Carey, stated:
“This is a tremendous victory. 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.”
Another of Antonick’s lawyers, Stuart Painter, went on to say in response to his request for EA to hand over its source code:
“Our experience with EA’s lawyers, especially their in-house lawyers, is what they lack in good legal judgment they make up for in unreasonable stubbornness.”