Tuesday, February 14th 2012

Infinity Ward Lawsuit Going to Trial with EA and CoD Creators

Apparently the war between the original creators of the Call of Duty franchise and Activision is going in front of a jury. The big "he said, the monolithic corporation said" video games kerfuffle of 2010, the fallout from Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella leaving Activision then signing up with Electronic Arts, is indeed going to trial. On Wednesday, a California Superior Court judge denied EA's motion for summary judgement on the complex lawsuit, as well as one from West and Zampella, meaning the big Call of Duty mess will go before a jury next year.


West and Zampella were fired by Activision in March 2010, and quickly sued the publisher for unpaid royalties and control over the Modern Warfare brand, created at Infinity Ward. Activision counter-sued in April, saying the pair attempted to undermine IW so it could poach employees for a new studio, and had been in clandestine meetings with a competitor.
A few days later, West and Zampella announced the formation of new studio Respawn Entertainment in April, signing an exclusive publishing arrangement with EA. Forty-odd Infinity Ward members eventually follow West and Zampella to Respawn. A number of people who worked at IW on Call of Duty also sued Activision for up to $125 million in unpaid royalties.

Activision later added EA to its counter-suit, claiming that it had conspired with West and Zampella, and seeking $400 million in damages for contract interference.
With the summary judgement motions from EA and the duo denied, the case will go before a jury on May 7, 2012. In a statement provided to USA Today, West and Zampella's attorney said, "We are eager to get to trial on May 7 to prove Jason and Vince's case against Activision for firing them without cause and denying them the money they earned. Activision's claims against EA are a smoke screen, seeking to distract attention from Activision's atrocious behavior to Jason, Vince, and the rest of the Infinity Ward team."

One has to wonder if this is going to be trial by a jury of peers, where are they going find a bunch of eccentric video game designers and corporate CEO's who will not be biased?Source: Shacknews
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21 Comments on Infinity Ward Lawsuit Going to Trial with EA and CoD Creators

#1
RejZoR
It's strange how IP rights instantly slip into all publisher hands. Be it games, music or something else. Just look at the Far Cry. Made by Crytek and now Ubi has the rights for this name. Why? All they did was publish the game.
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#2
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Oh. My. God. EA is trying to steal the Call of Duty franchise away from Activision.
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#3
assaulter_99
Good lord. Dirty indeed. Reminds me (even though it isn't exactly the same case) of Bohemia Interactive. They made the original Operation Flashpoint, but then lost all rights to the name which Codemasters owned. They had to name their IP Arma and Codemasters cranked out Operation Flashpoint - Dragon something. Can't even remember the name, so poor was the game. Point is, the name is really important. 9 out of 10 buyers don't even care and don't have an idea who made the game.
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#4
H82LUZ73
by: FordGT90Concept
Oh. My. God. EA is trying to steal the Call of Duty franchise away from Activision.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0d1DmPlgHCw/TfkPymBIwcI/AAAAAAAAIjc/T7CwRz2N_bA/s400/homer-eating-popcorn-small-c78.jpg
I hope they bury it behind the wood loo out back of Activision.So none of us has to put up with the goddamn thing ever again.rehashed the game since IW made mw2...lets see MW2,Black Flops,Mw3.....All the same crap made by IW and now reused by Sledgehammer......
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#5
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
They would probably end Medal of Honor and make a new Call of Duty game based on Frostbite 2 like all their other games.
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#6
Wrigleyvillain
PTFO or GTFO
This place feels like a tech legal news site lately!
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#7
TheMailMan78
Banstick Dummy
by: Wrigleyvillain
This place feels like a tech legal news site lately!
Not much happening on the hardware front man. We are doing our best.
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#8
m1dg3t
by: Wrigleyvillain
This place feels like a tech legal news site lately!
Seem's like there is a complete stagnation in the various tech field's ATM so everyone is trying to profit by suing each other, sad really :shadedshu

New's is new's, post it up!
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#9
yogurt_21
game was developed under Infinity Ward, Actvision bought Infinity Ward. Activision owns all rights. The employees have none.

Technology law isn't as complicated as some people would like it to be.
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#10
Wrigleyvillain
PTFO or GTFO
by: m1dg3t
Seem's like there is a complete stagnation in the various tech field's ATM so everyone is trying to profit by suing each other, sad really :shadedshu

New's is new's, post it up!
Yeah. Not complaining; just observing. It's definitely due to the fact that there's more of this type of stuff happening on which to report lately... :shadedshu
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#11
FreedomEclipse
Crazy Dogmatic Bullsh!t!
let the mudslinging begin!!!
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#12
xenocide
by: yogurt_21
game was developed under Infinity Ward, Actvision bought Infinity Ward. Activision owns all rights. The employees have none.

Technology law isn't as complicated as some people would like it to be.
Except that their contracts stipulated specifically (according to West and Zampella) that they retained the rights to make any "modern and near future based" CoD game. They also are counter-suing Activision because Activision apparently fired them without paying them any of the contractually obligated money they owed them from MW2 sales. These 2 may have done some things that were wrong, but don't pretend like Activision is completely in the right here.
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#14
NC37
Activision hasn't been in the right for a long time. Neither has EA, but enemy of my enemy...

Hope Activision gets whipped on this, and the other case going on between Blizzard and Valve. Imagine the impact on the industry if Blizzard is allowed to own mods they didn't even code themselves. Literally what it comes down to. I'd expect it is just a stall tactic to prevent competition between DOTA2 and D3.
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#15
manofthem
With all the Apple news lately, I was startin to think twice about my iPhone. Now with this EA/Activision/IW news, I wish I hasn't bought MW2 today off Amazon for $5.
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#16
speedpc
by: FreedomEclipse
let the mudslinging begin!!!
Gonna be another he said ,she said case :( what next :banghead:
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#17
ViperXTR
maybe its just me but most of the news i see these days has lawsuit and sue in it >.<
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#18
DannibusX
I hope West and Zampella cash in on this, personally. Their company created a cash cow for Activision and they are owed some serious royalty payments.
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#19
D4S4
holy fvck if, by some odd chance, ea starts publishing cod, the world is indeed coming to an end this year.
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#20
DannibusX
IIRC Zampella and West aren't going after CoD itself, just the Modern Warfare branding, which I assume they have some sort of contract that states they own it.

This is actually a pretty deep case. According to the complaint, Activision withheld royalty payments to Infinity Ward which amount to well over $100 million due to the success of Modern Warfare 2. Activision alleges that West and Zampella were conspiring to poach IW staffers over to a new company affiliated with EA.

The OTHER lawsuit, which was filed by the former employees of IW allege that Activision withheld the royalties, bonuses and other monies until all they signed contracts to continue working at Infinity Ward and Activision.

This is a popcorn eating case for sure, and I can't wait to see what happens in court.

Of course, the fact that West and Zampella opened Respawn Entertainment and hired 38 out of the 46 employees that quit working for Infinity Ward might have an effect on the outcome of the case and the basis for Activisions countersuit.
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#21
Static~Charge
by: RejZoR
It's strange how IP rights instantly slip into all publisher hands. Be it games, music or something else. Just look at the Far Cry. Made by Crytek and now Ubi has the rights for this name. Why? All they did was publish the game.
Never sign a contract without reading all of the fine print.
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