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RollerCoaster Tycoon lawsuit goes to House of Lords

Atari's court case over payment to Chris Sawyer, creator of the RollerCoaster Tycoon series, is to go to the UK's highest court — the House of Lords.

Atari's court case over payment to Chris Sawyer, creator of the RollerCoaster Tycoon series, is to go to the UK's High Court.

Although the case currently has no prospect of success under UK law, the law itself may have changed by the time the case is heard.

"This is one of those unusual cases in which a claim which the court considers has no real prospect of success (as the law stands) should, nevertheless, be permitted to go trial," said judge Lord Justice Chadwick.

Sawyer is claiming that Atari has breached the terms of a licensing agreement by not allowing auditors access to accounts from 1999 to 2001, during which he claims he is owed US $4.8 million.

Atari has since counter-claimed that Sawyer has broken an agreement by letting developer Frontier create a demo based on the RollerCoaster Tycoon franchise, and therefore induced Frontier to breach its contractual obligations to Atari.

The law of inducement is the sticking point that has forced similar cases to be forwarded to the House of Lords, and it will now wait pending two other appeals.

If the House of Lords decides to leave the precedents set in the two other cases, Chadwick expects Atari will drop its case of inducement to breach of contract.

"If those judgements uphold the view of the law taken by this Court, then it may be expected that Atari will recognise that its claim in respect of inducement to breach of contract must fail, and the claim will be abandoned," he said.

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