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Electronic Arts Must Pay $4.86M For Patent Theft

TYLER, Texas (CN) - Video game giant Electronic Arts must pay over $4.86 million for infringing on a computer security firm's anti-software piracy patent, a federal jury concluded.

Plano, Texas-based Uniloc USA Inc. and Uniloc Luxembourg S.A. sued in 2013, claiming EA's SecuROM video game activation system infringes on U.S. Patent No. 5,490,216.

The system allows EA customers to activate and register their video games and is aimed at reducing piracy and "casual copying," Uniloc alleged.

SecuROM restricts the number of devices a customer can simultaneously activate a game on with the same key.

EA games that use the system include "Alice: Madness Returns," "Dragon Age II" and "Darkspore: Limited Edition," the complaint stated.

Uniloc asked the court to for compensatory damages and "a reasonable, on-going, post judgment royalty."

A federal jury agreed with Uniloc and awarded over $4.86 million in compensatory damages on Friday.

EA and Uniloc did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday morning.

Redwood City, California-based EA has faced previous lawsuits over its use of SecuROM. Players of "Spore" filed a class action in San Jose Federal Court in Sept. 20008, claiming SecuROM was installed onto their computers as a separate, free-standing program without their authorization.

They claimed the program was "uninstallable" that "remains a fixture in their computer unless and until the consumer completely wipes their hard drive through reformatting or replacement of the drive."

A second class action with similar allegations was filed one month later by players of "Mass Effect."

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