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GOLF WAR UPDATE: IT FILES TRIAL PLAN

Posted On: 3/7/2003

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CHICAGO - (Posted March 7) A spokesman for Incredible Technologies today refused to confirm or deny reports that IT and Global VR are exploring an out of court settlement in their copyright infringement case. According to the official, IT today filed "a comprehensive plan for discovery and preparation and trial on the merits" with the office of Judge Matthew Kennelly, U.S. District Court, Northern Illinois Eastern Division. The official said IT's position remains as stated last week by president Elaine Hodgson: the company intends to "vigorously pursue" its case. IT on Feb. 20 filed copyright infringement charges over GVR's "EA Sports PGA Tour" golf game. During the preliminary hearing on Feb. 24, IT attorneys argued that GVR's control panel infringed the IT copyright. They asserted that IT's own control panel layout was copyrightable because it is "tied to" a copyrighted item, specifically the source code for the "Golden Tee" video game. (IT attorneys also said "We never said that they [Global VR] copied our source code.") In denying IT's request for a Temporary Restraining Order, Judge Kennelly said GVR's control board and certain other aspects of Global VR's golf game could well have been copied from IT's game. But he strongly questioned whether those aspects of IT's game were copyrightable. In his own words: "I think there is a pretty decent case of copying here [with regards to Global VR's control panel layout], but I don't see a particularly good case of copyrightability." Kennelly also sharply questioned the "tie-in" interpretation of U.S. copyright law offered by IT attorneys. Accordingly, said the judge, "The conclusion that I come out with is that the plaintiff has shown only a very, very slim likelihood of success" in proving its allegation of copyright infringement.