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'Madden NFL' programmer wins $11-million in suit against EA Sports

July 24, 2013|By David Wharton
  • Madden NFL
Madden NFL (Electronic Arts )

Much like a quarterback sacked from the blind side, EA Sports has suffered some big hits lately.

Or as John Madden might say, "Bam! Boom!"

First came news that the NCAA -- facing a lawsuit over use of athletes' names and likenesses -- will drop its lucrative relationship with the video-game maker.

Now, just before the release of the newest "Madden NFL," EA has come out on the losing end of a lawsuit in San Francisco, with a federal court jury deciding it owes $11 million in damages and interest to the game's original programmer.

Robin Antonick was replaced soon after producing the first Madden. His suit claimed that subsequent versions greatly resembled his design and that he is owed royalties.

“This is a tremendous victory,” said Rob Carey, 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.” 

Antonick's suit addressed games released up to 1996. That next phase would encompass versions published between 1997 and the present, where revenue exceeds $3 billion.

"While we're disappointed with the jury's verdict and will appeal, this has always been a case about games from the early 1990s, and it has no impact on today's 'Madden NFL' franchise," EA spokesman John Reseburg told


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