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IT Sues Global VR, Charging Copyright Infringement; GVR Denies Claims

Posted On: 2/21/2003

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL - (posted Feb. 21) Incredible Technologies on Feb. 20 announced that it is suing competitor Global VR, charging that the defendant's "EA Sports PGA Tour" video game "blatantly and maliciously copies and duplicates" IT's earlier "Golden Tee Fore!" game. Attorneys for IT filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division against Virtual Technologies, Inc. d/b/a Global VR. IT's news release included the following: "The action is based on copyright infringement, trade dress infringement and related claims against Global VR, which is manufacturing, distributing, promoting and offering for sale a coin-operated video game called 'EA Sports PGA Tour Golf' that blatantly and meticulously copies and duplicates IT's 'Golden Tee Fore!' in all material respects. IT seeks damages, costs, reasonable attorneys' fees, and any other remedies, including but not limited to the recall from distributors, operators and the stream of commerce, and to deliver up for destruction all 'EA Sports PGA Tour Golf' machines and other materials which violate or infringe upon IT's rights, and such other relief as may be equitable pursuant to applicable state and federal law." IT's statement continued: "Global VR's alleged violations include, among others, blatant duplication of significant portions of operations manuals created by IT, copying the shape and size of the 'Golden Tee Fore!' hardware module, and copying the sequences of events, arrangements, look, play and feel of 'Golden Tee Fore!.' Despite the receipt of a letter from IT's counsel in October, 2002 demanding that the infringements cease and desist, Global VR's unauthorized reproduction and sale of its infringing game, 'EA Sports PGA Tour Golf,' is causing and threatens to cause continued irreparable harm to IT and to its reputation." "In connection with the complaint, IT has filed a motion which seeks to enjoin Global VR from manufacturing, marketing, advertising, or selling any product that violates or infringes upon IT's right, title and interest in and to Golden Tee Fore!, including the EA Sports PGA Tour Golf game. The motion further seeks to compel Global VR to notify all operators, owners, and lessees of EA Sports PGA Tour Golf that they are temporarily restrained from continuing to operate EA Sports PGA Tour Golf for profit or otherwise. "Elaine Hodgson, President and CEO of IT stated, 'Our employees have worked long and hard and we've spent millions of dollars to forge new territory in the coin-op industry, and establish 'Golden Tee Fore!' and video golf as a successful cultural phenomenon. Global VR is intentionally and blatantly attempting to usurp our creativity, technology and market share, with no regard for the protected rights of others. The introduction of 'EA Sports PGA Tour Golf' and its substandard presentation of elements and procedures that are unique to 'Golden Tee' have already caused substantial and damaging confusion in the marketplace. IT refuses to be held in any way accused of or responsible for Global VR's indiscriminant and self-serving business practices." "'IT takes great pride in the products, services and integrity it has developed and garnered over many years,'" said Richard Ditton, IT's executive vice-president. 'We welcome and encourage competition, as it is good for both IT and the industry. However, just as we cooperated previously with the industry in seeking protection from counterfeit products, we believe that the same standards apply with respect to protection of copyrights, trade dress and related properties and are taking the appropriate steps to ensure such protection is obtained.'" Global VR issued a formal response immediately. Here is the text: "The action IT is pursuing is baseless and intended to confuse and intimidate Global VR customers. While Global VR takes the lawsuit seriously, and will respond formally to IT's claims in court, it is confident that there is no legal basis for IT's claims. "'We believe that the lawsuit is without merit and are reviewing an appropriate response with legal counsel,'" stated Milind Bharvirkar, the president of Global VR. 'It is unfortunate that IT is responding to our competitive challenge with legal action rather than with product innovation.' "Global VR is extremely disappointed in IT's response to Global VR's successful entré into the video golf market, as GVR has always engaged in professional business practices. Global VR's mission is to develop high-quality products and to provide financially viable programs for its customers. We will continue to provide the coin-op industry with the highest quality, most innovative products available."