After a three day deliberation, a Californian jury awarded Robin Antonick – the original designer Madden NFL – more than $11 million dollars in damages after EA failed to pay the programmer royalties for the series.
Earlier this year, Antonick filed a suit against EA for using software he had programmed and then failing to pay him royalties on successive releases of Madden. EA tried to downplay Antonick's role in the series, but a Californian court didn't feel the same way, and now EA will have to pay Antonick over $11 million dollars. Antonick also has the option to continue to pursue EA for royalties on games that were published after 1997 – games with significantly higher revenues and possible damages.
In the case, Antonick claimed that he had signed a series of publishing and development contracts with EA, culminating in a 1986 agreement that stated that EA would pay Antonick royalties on any derivative works related to the original EA Madden, which Antonick had developed.
The jury determined that several of EA’s Madden games, published between 1990-1996, were similar enough to Antonick's original that that EA would have to play back royalties. A future phase of the trial will be held to determine whether EA is responsible for paying Antonick for games published after 1997.
An EA Spokesperson told us, "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."
Revenues for games after 1996 total about 3 BILLION dollars. With a B.