On September 10, it was announced that Aristocrat Leisure Limited had reached a settlement with slot machine manufacturer Castle Hill Gaming Inc. over an allegation that the latter had infringed upon the intellectual property of a U.S-based subsidiary of Aristocrat.
Aristocrat’s subsidiary, Video Gaming Technologies (VGT), had filed a lawsuit in 2017 alleging that infringements upon trademarks, trade secrets, and trade dress had occurred. According to the terms of the agreement, Castle Hill will pay a sum of $3 million to VGT and will no longer be able to use game titles such as “New Money”, “Arctic Cash”, “Arctic Ice” and “Welcome to Nugget Mountain.” They will also be barred from using additional machine features and paytables by April 1, 2020.
In a statement by Aristocrat Technologies President Hector Fernandez, he stated: “This settlement again confirms VGT’s and Aristocrat’s determination to protect our intellectual property, including VGT’s market-leading Class II portfolio. We will continue to be proactive and aggressive in defending our assets going forward.”
Despite settling out of court, Castle Hill seems buoyed by the recent turn of events, often referring to the dispute as “David vs. Goliath” in the past. In a statement by Arthur Watson, CEO of Castle Hill Gaming, he stated:
“We are thrilled with this David versus Goliath outcome. I believe that VGT and its parent company, Aristocrat, wanted to put us out of business because they saw us as a competitive threat. Our games are performing at par with their games in many of the casinos in which we compete. But we have survived, thrived, and are entering new markets like Historical Horse Racing.”
While this matter is resolved, Aristocrat still has pending litigation against rival Ainsworth related to an alleged intellectual property theft. In July, Aristocrat Leisure filed a lawsuit in Australia’s federal court, alleging that Ainsworth Game Technology (AGT) had stolen technology from the Lightning Link slot machine which was then used in AGT’s Jackpot Strike Machine.
In the filing, Aristocrat claimed that the violation “goes well beyond simple copyright infringement and concerns allegations of extensive and deliberate misappropriation of trade secrets, confidential information, and intellectual property.” Allegations of corporate espionage have also been floated as part of the suit.
No date has been set for when this trial will get underway in federal court, and AGT has denied all allegations made by Aristocrat in the lawsuit.