An $11m award granted to the programmer of the original John Madden Football game has been thrown out of court by a federal judge.
The Madden franchise has seen an annual release every year since 1990.
The original award was decided by a jury last July which found Electronic Arts guilty of using code and features developed by Madden developer Robin Antonick in subsequent Madden titles without crediting him or paying any royalties.
The award has now been thrown out by a federal district court which says there is no evidence that Electronic Arts had copied his work without paying royalties. Antonick intends to appeal the decision in the Court of Appeals.
The reversal of the decision was down to the fact that in the original case, the jury did not compare the games in question side-by-side. District Court Judge Charles Breyer stated that the 1988 title John Madden Football should have been directly compared with the John Madden series published between 1990 and 1996.
'There is no evidence that any of the Sega Madden games are virtually identical to the Apple II game that Robin Antonick programmed. The evidence also proved that EA's source code was not substantially similar to Antonick's source code,'
said a spokesperson for EA's law firm Keker and Van Nest LLP. 'As EA has maintained from day one, Antonick was fully compensated for his work on the Apple II game. Because Antonick had no involvement in the Sega Madden games, he had no entitlement to further royalties.'
The Madden series has had a yearly instalment released every year since 1990. It was reported that as of 2010, the series had raked in more than $3bn in sales.