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Decision, EA: Judge Reverses Multimillion Dollar Award To Madden Dev 125

Posted by timothy
from the such-bizarre-reasoning dept.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that "A federal judge overturned a jury's multimillion-dollar damage award to the programmer of the original John Madden Football video game on Wednesday, saying there was no evidence that his work was copied for seven years, without credit, by the marketer of later versions of the hugely successful game. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco spared Electronic Arts Inc. from nearly $4 million in damages, plus interest that could have exceeded $7 million. The jury verdict also could have led to larger damages against the company for later versions of the game, which reaped billions of dollars in revenues, if future juries found that those, too, had been lifted from the work of programmer Robin Antonick." Also at Kotaku.
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Decision, EA: Judge Reverses Multimillion Dollar Award To Madden Dev

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  • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @02:16AM (#46071133)
    That sounds like a bad ruling. If the expert was right, then the jury was right. If the expert was wrong, then the defense should have shown them side-by-side to show the differences. Either way, the subsequent judges shouldn't be ruling on the facts unless the defense tried to compare the games, but the lower judge improperly excluded it.

    A read of the opinion you linked to, and I think the appeal was wrong. The appellant judge should have ruled that the expert opinion on the similarity of the games be inadmissable, and return the case to the lower court for a re-hearing. Given the testimony (allowed at the time) that the games were identical, and without anything to contradict it, the jury ruled they were identical. Overturning the entire case because one piece of testimony was given improperly should result in a re-trial, not an overturn. If the plaintiff were told that witness was excluded for that reason, he could have proven his point another way. That the lower court made an error in allowing it doesn't change the facts.
  • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @11:38PM (#46077529)
    They were presented evidence that they were sufficiently similar to meet the legal standard. But the judge retro-actively (and essentially secretly) excluded that evidence without warning, then appointed himself jury of the evidence and re-tried it with himself as judge, laywer, and jury.

    That's why I disagree with the finding.

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