Skillz Wins $42.89M in Mobile Gaming Patent Spat


In a high-stakes verdict that could reverberate through the mobile gaming industry, Skillz, a leader in skill-based mobile gaming, emerged victorious in a legal dispute that saw them pitted against AviaGames, a rival gaming enterprise. The contention centered around an alleged infringement of Skillz’s patented technology—a platform that engenders real money wagering in a peer-to-peer format. On Friday, the scales of justice tipped in Skillz’s favor as they were awarded a hefty sum of $42.89 million in damages.

This judicial triumph unfolded within the walls of the US Courthouse in San Jose, where extensive deliberations by a conscientious jury resulted in a finding against AviaGames. The legal scrum traced its roots to a former partnership between the two companies whereby AviaGames was accused of unlawfully appropriating Skillz’s technology and repurposing it for their gain—a move that has not only legal repercussions but also ethical implications, according to the jury’s assessment.

Andrew Dahlinghaus, Skillz’s general counsel, expressed satisfaction with the outcome, signifying the jury’s award as a monumental stride in favor of equity within the mobile gaming sphere. The jury’s evaluation led them to the conviction that AviaGames, under the leadership of CEO Vickie Chen, had willfully infringed upon Skillz’s patent rights, an act they viewed as a manifestation of moral dishonesty.

AviaGames, attempting to mount a defense, argued that their product, the Pocket7Games app, was not a replicated version of Skillz’s software development kit. However, the jury found the evidence to the contrary compelling, concluding that the term “historical playthroughs” cited by Avia was not credible and possibly a smokescreen for the use of unauthorized bots, designed to simulate player interaction—a concern not directly adjudicated upon but nevertheless impactful on the jury’s determination of patent infringement.

After extensive discussion lasting over eight hours, the jury aligned on a financial restitution figure, ultimately presenting Judge Beth Labson Freeman with the decisive amount of $42,899,274. Still, this case may only be the opening gambit in a lengthy legal entanglement for AviaGames, as an appeal remains a viable option, and a separate class-action lawsuit looms on the horizon.

This ongoing battle pitches AviaGames against former players who assert that they were victims of deceptive practices, believing they were engaging in games of skill, when in fact, they may have been pitted against computer bots, tilting the odds against them in what is alleged to be an unlicensed gambling operation. If substantiated, this accusation could dramatically alter the landscape not only for AviaGames but also for the industry at large, potentially redefining certain business models as illicit gambling enterprises.

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