EA suffers setback in Madden NFL suit

Jury rules that statute of limitations in EA vs. original Madden designer suit has not expired; case will go forward.

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A jury in U.S. District Court today ruled that the statute of limitations in the EA vs. Robin Antonick Madden NFL suit has not expired, meaning the case will move forward. The decision is a setback for EA, which said earlier this week that Antonick's lawsuit was "too late."

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Antonick designed the original Madden NFL title and is seeking millions from the publisher over unpaid royalties and compensatory damages.

"In today's ruling, the jury tackled the statute of limitations, specifically whether the deadline for filing a lawsuit had already passed. It found in Antonick's favor, ruling that he did not suspect any wrongdoing by EA before 2005," reads a statement from Antonick's legal representation. "It also found that a reasonable person would not have known about the claims before 2005."

Antonick's lawyer, Rob Carey, called the decision a "major validation of Mr. Antonick's testimony" and said EA will have a hard time proving its case going forward.

"Now the case goes to the merits, where we have irrefutable evidence," Carey continued. "We are confident that we will be able to demonstrate that EA failed to live up to its agreement with Mr. Antonick and lied to him about the use of his protected work product in the games."

An EA representative told GameSpot, "While we're disappointed that the trial will proceed, we are confident that we will prevail on the merits once the evidence is presented."

Antonick is seeking compensatory damages of around $16 million and nearly $200 million from EA's pre-1996 game profits. The court case began earlier this week.

More than 99 million Madden NFL games have been sold to date, generating billions in revenue. Antonick originally sued EA in April 2011.

The next entry in the series is Madden NFL 25, a special version of the game launching in August to mark the franchise's 25th anniversary.

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