Legal

Gaming Tech Companies Settle Alleged Hacking, Copyright Infringement Dispute

A South Carolina-based gaming technology company has settled out of court with the North Carolina-based competitor it accused of selling hacked versions of its games, Biz Journals reports.

Grover Gaming’s and Banilla Games’ Mountain of Fire is part of the Fusion Package that was allegedly pirated by TNT Amusements. (Image: YouTube)

Greenville-based Grover Gaming and its sister company, Banilla Games, sued TNT Amusements, of Burlington in a federal court in November of last year.

The lawsuit accused TNT of using “unknown software” to hack and copy Grover’s Fusion Package of games before selling pirate copies on the open market at a lower price than the original.

Trade Secrets Hacked Claim

The Fusion Package consists of five electronic slots-style games in one standalone gaming cabinet sold through Banilla, which is Grover’s exclusive distributor. All Grover games are created, designed, developed, and manufactured in-house. The Fusion Package is employed primarily for businesses operating in the Georgia Lottery’s coin-operated amusement machine (COAM) market.

COAM’s are licensed and regulated gaming machines that are like slots, but with greater elements of skill, and they do not offer cash prizes. Instead, winning players receive vouchers that can be used to buy products in the establishment where the COAM is located.

According to the lawsuit, in early 2019, a former client of the plaintiff, Joshua Askew, was approached by TNT and asked if he wanted to purchase a “copy” of the Fusion Package. TNT allegedly acknowledged to Askew it was a “hacked” version of Grover’s games board.

Askew later visited the TNT offices, where he recorded a conversation with the company’s representatives as they tried to sell him three or more Fusion Packages for $5,000 apiece, a saving of more than $4,000 on the original.

Askew brought the TNT Fusion Packages to Grover so Grover could determine whether TNT had hacked its games. It found they were identical to its own games.

‘No Valid Copyright’

But in a response filed in January, TNT denied all the allegations. It claimed it had not misappropriated any of Grover’s and Banilla’s trade secrets because the companies “lack valid copyright registrations for the intellectual property rights asserted, or have not properly or timely registered such works.”

“At all times, Defendant acted in good faith and in a commercially reasonable and lawful manner,” TNT claimed.

But according to the latest court filings, TNT has now agreed to refrain from distributing the software package and to keep its hands off Grover’s confidential information and trade secrets. In return, Grover and Banilla have agreed to drop all remaining claims against it.

Lawyers for both parties declined to comment when approached by Biz Journals.

Philip Conneller

Global and Tribal Gaming, Casino Business, International Crime, UK Gaming---- In Philip Conneller’s seven years with Casino.org, he has covered the gaming industry from Las Vegas to Macau and everything in between. Previously the original features editor for poker’s Bluff US and editor for Bluff Europe (which he helped launch), he has also written for iGaming Business, eGaming Review, and numerous other industry news sites. His news stories for Casino.org have been linked by the Washington Post, the Daily Mail, People Magazine, and Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show, among many others. Philip lives outside of London with his wife and children, and frequently travels to the EU. Email: philip.conneller@casino.org

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