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EA sued over feature in 'Madden NFL 06'

A video game developer sues Electronic Arts, charging the video game giant stole an idea for a game feature he had.
/ Source: Reuters

A video game developer has sued Electronic Arts Inc., charging that the world's biggest video game publisher stole an idea for a game feature he had and incorporated it in the popular football title "Madden NFL 06."

"We have read the complaint and the allegations are completely without merit," an EA spokeswoman told Reuters Friday.

In his lawsuit filed Nov. 28 with the California Superior Court in San Mateo County, Virtual Jam owner Pernell Harris said he met with EA in late 2003 to discuss "Heart of a Champion," a football game he was developing in which players guide an athlete from high school to professional football.

Among other things, players pick the athlete's parents and handle all kinds of daily experiences from sports practice to school homework.

Harris said features from that game appeared in "Madden NFL 2006" when it was released earlier this year. He accused EA of breaching an "implied in fact contract" when it used those features without compensating him and said EA had violated a confidentiality agreement.

Harris is seeking unspecified damages, attorney's fees and restitution.

EA's "Maddden" franchise has been one of the best-selling video game properties ever. In 2004, the game accounted for $232 million in sales, according to data cited by brokerage Wedbush Morgan Securities.