Following an order to pay $315 million in damages, Scientific Games (SG) has announced their intention to appeal. The ruling was passed by a court in Chicago in the United States, awarding $105 million to a trio of companies. Under the antitrust laws of the country, the amount is automatically tripled.
The companies involved are Poydras-Talrick Holdings, Aces Up Gaming and Shuffle Tech International, and are due to receive $75 million, $45 million and $135 million respectively. In its capacity as a DigiDeal Corp assignees, Shuffle Tech was allotted another $60 million.
How the Ruling was Reached
The initial suit was filed because of the automatic card shuffler that Aces Up Gaming, Poydras-Talrick Holdings and Shuffle Tech International created collaboratively in 2012. Scientific Games alleged that the trio’s product had used their patented technology, without obtaining authorisation.
The three opposing companies countersued SG in 2015, with an antitrust lawsuit. They claimed that the plaintiff had secured card shuffler patents that were too broad, and were therefore invalid, by deliberately deceiving the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They further asserted that this was intended to impede any competitive card shufflers.
The court decided that the patent lawsuit initiated by SG was frivolous and thus in violation of antitrust legislation. The definition of a frivolous lawsuit is one that is filed to harass, disturb or annoy the opposing party, or one that the plaintiff knows they stand little to no chance of winning in a court of law. Antitrust laws, called competition laws outside of the United States, are statutes put in place by government to ensure fair competition in an open-market economy.
Essentially, the ruling finds that SG tried to misuse legal structures in order to force the other companies to halt the development of their card shuffling machines. In court submissions, SG argued that they did not intentionally mislead the Patent Office, and that their original patent lawsuit was not frivolous.
Next Steps for Scientific Games
In an official statement, spokesperson Susan Cartwright said that SG believed the jury had reached the wrong conclusion. She went on to state that her company would seek review of the liability finding and the damages awarded. This would be done, she said, before the trial court as well as, if necessary, on appeal.
Legal concerns are by no means the only thing occupying the Scientific Games team’s time at the moment. The business continues to expand with its new SG Universe. This online suite of products has so far been launched with Casino Arizona, bringing Internet-based gameplay to the operator’s two land-based properties. The desktop, mobile and social casino platforms should all extend and strengthen player interaction with the brand.