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Trip Hawkins enters Madden legal dispute

EA founder claims Robin Antonick was 'one of many', as royalties battle continues

EA and 3DO founder Trip Hawkins has weighed in against Madden NFL developer Robin Antonick, who is waging a mulit-million lawsuit against EA for unpaid royalties.

Antonick was involved in the creation of the original Apple II, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS versions of John Madden Football, and recently filed a complaint against EA, accusing them of unfairly using his work as the "foundation of the Madden franchise".

According to a Los Angeles Times report Hawkins, who was also personally involved in the creation of the series, is disputing key elements of Antonick's story - despite not being a defendant in the case.

Hawkins attests that Antonick was merely 'one of many' people who worked on the first game and that he was a contractor working from home - and that he did not work side-by-side with Hawkins as claimed in the lawsuit.

EA itself has described the lawsuit as being "without merit". Responding specifically to accusations that the company tried to settle with Antonick ahead of any court hearing, EA insists that it: "never offered to pay Antonick a penny".

Hawkins is currently involved in his own multi-million lawsuit, with a judge recently upholding a bankruptcy court ruling that will prevent Hawkins from writing off his $20 million in outstanding tax debts.

The case results from the collapse of the 3DO business, with prosecutors arguing that Hawkins, "continued to spend money extravagantly with knowledge of his tax liabilities."

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David Jenkins