April 18, 2024 3 min read

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Aristocrat Faces Tough Road in Copyright Lawsuit against Light & Wonder

Legal experts highlighted the company may face challenges in its intellectual property lawsuit against Light & Wonder

Earlier this year, two leading developers of slot games, Aristocrat and Light & Wonder, were tangled in a legal battle over an alleged intellectual property violation. The lawsuit was filed by Aristocrat with the company claiming that its competitor created two products that were similar to its Dragon Link series.

Aristocrat claimed that Light & Wonder’s Dragon Train and Jewel of the Dragon were a “knockoff” of its successful products Lightning Link and Dragon Link. In the legal claim, the game developer said that two of its former employees, who worked on the products, Lloyd Sefton and Emma Charles, became a part of Light & Wonder back in 2021.

Aristocrat said that it is “at least plausible – if not likely – that Ms Charles and/or Lloyd Sefton used Aristocrat’s intellectual property,” alleging intellectual property infringement by Light & Wonder. The legal claim was filed with the District Court of Nevada and claimed that the games of the two rivals had “remarkable similarities.”

Mary LaFrance, UNLV’s Boyd School of Law professor of intellectual property law, who was recently interviewed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, commented on the topic, explaining that Aristocrat may be facing a difficult road ahead by attempting to prove a connection between its two former employees and Light & Wonder’s games.

She acknowledged claims by Aristocrat that one of its employees was caught downloading “thousands of files” before leaving the company. Moreover, LaFrance outlined that this alleged conduct is likely going to play an important role in the lawsuit.

Parts of the Lawsuit, Difficult to Prove in Court

LaFrance added that Aristocrat would likely attempt to determine what data was downloaded that could have potentially been used by Light & Wonder. “But the thing is with that particular employee, I think, was such a recent hire that I’m somewhat doubtful that anything he took with him would actually have influenced the game that is currently being offered by Light & Wonder,” she pointed out.

I. Nelson Rose, the author of the GamblingAndTheLaw blog and Whittier College professor emeritus, said that it is not uncommon for manufacturers of slot machines to file lawsuits against each other. “I’ve never counted up the lawsuits, but there could be more lawsuits between manufacturers than any other two parts of the gaming industry,” he explained.

Rose said that proving there is a connection between the two employees and Light & Wonder’s two games would be vital for Aristocrat. Still, both LaFrance and Rose agreed that the games use red color and dragons, which are symbols popular among players within the Asian region and that would make intellectual property violations difficult to prove in court.

Previously, Light & Wonder responded to the lawsuit saying that it is “baseless.” The company outlined that it strives to offer competitive, innovative and engaging content, just like other slot games providers. Finally, Light & Wonder said that it is prepared to fight the legal claim “vigorously” in court.

Journalist

Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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