Oscar-winning "Pulp Fiction" screenwriter Roger Avary has sued Microsoft Corp. in California, accusing the software giant of stealing his idea for a virtual yoga studio after it had sought his advice about winning over women to video games, his attorney said Tuesday.
Avary seeks at least $30 million plus punitive damages and has asked a judge to stop Microsoft and co-defendant ResponDesign Inc., an Oregon game publisher, from selling the yoga game, called "Yourself! Fitness."
ResponDesign chief executive Ted Spooner called the claims "completely false," and said Microsoft "did not participate in the development of this product in any way, shape or form."
"We've invested the hearts, minds and souls of our 16 employees in creating this product ... it is a wholly original idea that was created before any discussions this individual had with Microsoft," he said.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said the company has not seen the lawsuit and had no comment.
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Avary, who shared a best screenplay Oscar for 1994's "Pulp Fiction" with director Quentin Tarantino, often consults for video game makers on story lines and adaptations of video games to films, and was asked by his agents to meet with Microsoft executives in late 2002, his attorney James Webster, said.
According to his lawsuit, Avary met several times with the Microsoft team, and in 2003, pitched them a detailed concept for a video game designed to lead players through yoga poses using Microsoft's Xbox game console.
After handing over his confidential notes for an "internal review," Avary heard nothing from the Redmond, Washington-based software maker until Microsoft asked him to sign an agreement that "would have resulted in Avary transferring all rights to his concept ... with no compensation," the suit said.
He was "shocked" to learn last month from newspaper accounts that Microsoft had announced a new Xbox application called "Yourself! Fitness," published by ResponDesign, that was almost identical to Avary's proposal, the lawsuit said.
Avary also alleges that ResponDesign was founded after his meetings with Microsoft, and that its founder had "a long prior history with Microsoft."