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Aristocrat and Ainsworth headed to federal court

Mon, Jul 8, 12:13pm by Staff Writer

Australia’s two poker machine manufacturing giants are heading to the federal court, with Aristocrat Technologies claiming that rival Ainsworth Game Technology stole the designs to one of its most successful slot machines.

The Age reports that Aristocrat lodged proceedings in the Federal Court against Ainsworth on Wednesday afternoon, alleging breach of intellectual property law.

The dispute centres on technology Aristocrat developed for its popular Lightning Link machine, which it alleges was stolen by its rival and used in one of its own machines.

Aristocrat said it would “always aggressively defend our assets, including our IP.”

“This case goes well beyond simple copyright infringement and concerns allegations of extensive and deliberate misappropriation of trade secrets, confidential information and intellectual property,” the slot machines maker said in a statement.

“Upholding appropriate standards is part and parcel of ensuring ongoing trust in our business and industry, and is an important part of Aristocrat’s high compliance culture.”

Ainsworth said in a statement it would be “vigorously defending the claims made by Aristocrat in these proceedings.”

Last year, Aristocrat took legal action demanding a trove of documents from Ainsworth to discover how it developed one of its new machines, called the Jackpot Strike, and whether it contained features copied from the Lightning Link.

That claim demanded Ainsworth hand over source code, mathematical tables, game rules, artwork and commercial documents relating to the new machine.

The complex mathematical codes that sit behind poker machines which govern every spin and the frequency of every win are key to a new machine’s success or failure on the gaming floor.

The Lightning Link has been a runaway success for Aristocrat, being picked up by casinos around the world.

Both ASX-listed companies were founded and then sold by the 95-year-old magnate Len Ainsworth.

Aristocrat posts bumper first half profits

Australian gambling and poker machine giant Aristocrat Leisure is going global in a bid to diversify its portfolio.

A foray into online games appearing to be paying off though, with the company booking a huge 17 per cent rise in first-half profit to March 31st, IT News reports.

The encroachment of gambling interests into traditional games spaces is what Aristocrat has gambled on, and its paid off.

Their digital bet is chalking up positive numbers with revenue growth in its digital division up 37 per cent to US$586 million, delivering earnings of $175.8 million.

The poker machine and casino industries have long been an exercise in computing dating back to the 1980s.

Put away all of the flashy graphics, bells, whistles and blinking buttons and the hardware is essentially a tricked-up and networked gaming PC running software programmed to deliver to the house, albeit with some winds for the punter along the way.

What has changed dramatically over the past decade is the rise of online casino and card games like poker that allow humans to compete against each other from almost anywhere in the world, a trend that has seen many jurisdictions legally ban online gambling – partly out of fear of social harm, usually out of fear of revenue loss from officially licensed outlets.

The breath of Aristocrats digital strategic context is laid bare in its latest investor pack, with numbers in pitches to reel in institutional investors.

“In 2014, Aristocrat only participated in the Core Slot segment of social casino, which represented an addressable market of less than US$2 billion.

“Through acquisitions of Plarium and Big Fish, Aristocrat is now targeting a US$32 billion market opportunity,” the company said.

Aristocrat pounced on Big Fish in January 2018, snapping up the free-to-play gaming giant for $1.3 billion and giving it access to 12.4 million users every month.

Its hits to date include Gummy Drop!, Big Fish Casino and Fairway Solitaire.

There’s plenty more gaming action to come, with Big Fish announcing in January that it has partnered with Disney to develop and release Toy Stop Drop, an all new, free to play, match-3 puzzle adventure game on mobile.

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