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Slot machine maker accuses Vegas company of producing ‘cheap knockoff’

An Australia-based slot machine manufacturer is accusing a Las Vegas company of producing “a cheap knockoff” of one of its most successful games.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada, Aristocrat Technologies Inc. seeks an injunction calling for Light & Wonder to stop manufacturing and distributing what it considers to be a copycat game and for financial damages to be determined at trial. The company is accusing Light & Wonder Inc. and subsidiaries LNW Gaming Inc. and Sciplay Corp. of trade secret misappropriation, copyright infringement, trade dress infringement and deceptive trade practices.

In its five-count lawsuit filed Feb. 26, Aristocrat says Light & Wonder produced games similar to its Dragon Link and Lightning Link slot machine games. The company said former Aristocrat game developers Emma Charles and Lloyd Sefton, who joined Light & Wonder in 2021, worked on their new company’s Jewel of the Dragon and Dragon Train products.

Dragon Train was first released in Australia in 2023 and in the United States earlier this month. It’s been distributed in tribal casinos in California, Kansas and Minnesota.

“Aristocrat brings this complaint to stop L&W from free-riding on the significant time, effort and creativity Aristocrat has devoted over many years to developing innovative and award-winning games that bring joy to players around the world,” the 50-page lawsuit says.

Aristocrat says Dragon Link is one of its best-performing games and has colors, animations and audiovisuals with Asian themes that Light & Wonder has tried to duplicate. The machine has a “hold and spin” feature that enables players to accumulate symbols building toward bonus payouts.

Light & Wonder is fighting the lawsuit and said it has no merit.

“Aristocrat’s U.S. lawsuit is the latest installment in its continued international campaign to undermine the release of L&W’s innovative competing products,” a response filed March 12 said. “Rather than competing on an even playing field in the market, Aristocrat has contrived baseless legal claims in multiple jurisdictions coinciding with the release of L&W’s products in an effort to tarnish L&W’s product rollouts and drive customers away.”

Light & Wonder’s response said its Dragon Train product “is the result of years of independent development and innovation from a team of product developers, including Emma Charles, relying on general knowledge of commonly used game concepts.”

Aristocrat is asking the court to require Light & Wonder to destroy all trade secrets, identify all individuals and entities to whom Light & Wonder disclosed its trade secrets and to deliver to Aristocrat all packaging labels, displays, advertising or other materials in L&W’s possession that infringe on Aristocrat’s copyrights.

It also asks that Light & Wonder turn over any profits or financial benefits “received as a result of its misappropriation and infringement” as well as unspecified punitive damages.

The case is being heard by U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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