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6Waves and Spry Fox settle out of court

Lawyers unsurprised by result of cloning accusations

Developer Spry Fox has settled out of court with 6Waves, which it had been pursuing for damages over alleged copycatting of its match-three title Triple Town.

Spry Fox initially filed the charges in January, 2012 after 6Waves revealed Yeti Town, a match-three title bearing close similarities to Spry Fox's Triple Town. Yeti Town was developed by Escalation, who were acquired by 6Waves shortly afterwards, after 6Waves had been helping Spry Fox with moving the Facebook version of Triple Town to mobile.

Spry Fox accused 6Waves of copying core concepts of the game, which it had access to under NDA, and leaking them to Escalation - knowing that the acquisition deal was coming. 6Waves initially claimed that Escalation had developed the game completely independently, calling the similarities "part of the natural process" of development.

After an unsuccessful attempt to dismiss the charges earlier this week, 6Waves has now reached an agreement to compensate Spry Fox, the details of which have not been made public.

Game Politics spoke to lawyer Jack C. Schecter about the case, who expressed little surprise that an out-of-court settlement had been reached.

"As far as why they settled, the court's ruling on 6Waves' motion to dismiss was certainly a big factor. Motions to dismiss come in all shapes and sizes. In many instances, defendants are taking a flyer, hoping on an early exit from the case but also figuring that even if they lose the motion to dismiss, they're setting the stage for the rest of the case and getting a chance to get their narrative in front of the court early on. This was not that type of motion to dismiss.

"Rather, this was 6Waves taking its best shot with the core legal principle behind its defense - the notion that aside from the artwork used in Triple Town, copyright does not provide Spry Fox with much protection against a clone like Yeti Town. When the court squarely rejected that argument, 6Waves didn't have a whole lot to fall back on."

"Besides, from what was alleged in the complaint, 6Waves was dealing with some bad facts," he continued. "Setting aside the legal merits of Spry Fox's copyright claims, it seems like 6Waves was engaged in some sharp dealing, agreeing to develop an iOS port of Triple Town for Spry Fox while simultaneously developing its own Yeti Town clone and then beating Spry Fox to the punch in launching that clone in the App Store. Given that set of facts, I'm not at all surprised that 6Waves settled the case after its motion to dismiss was denied and it started to look much more likely that Spry Fox would be allowed to tell its story to a jury."

Both 6Waves and Spry Fox have been contacted for comment on the settlement.

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