Skillz Mobile App Lawsuit Against AviaGames Delayed Until February

Posted on: November 29, 2023, 09:35h. 

Last updated on: November 29, 2023, 08:33h.

Mobile gaming developer Skillz contends in federal court that rival AviaGames copied its products and duped consumers by using nonhuman “bots” in its money games. A judge this week granted an extension in the case to allow Avia to ready its defense.

AviaGames lawsuit bots Skillz
The Pocket7Games app in the Apple App Store. Pocket7Games developer AviaGames is facing two lawsuits, with one from its primary competitor, Skillz, on allegations that it uses bots to play against players in cash games. (Image: Apple App Store)

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman in California’s Northern District Court delayed the case against Avia until Feb. 2, 2024. She reasoned in her order that Avia has only been aware of Skillz’s fraud allegations since August 2023.

In September, Freeman ordered confidential communications between AviaGames executives and their counsel be turned over to Skillz attorneys. That ruling came after Freeman determined that there appears to be sufficient evidence that Avia utilized bots in its Pocket7Games mobile app suite of games.

Although AviaGames has been aware of Skillz’s allegations of fraud with respect to bot use since August 2023, Skillz’s assertion of the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege and the Grand Jury investigation was initiated within the last two months. AviaGames brought its motion to continue the trial one week after it was notified about the Grand Jury subpoena served on Skillz,” Freeman wrote this week.

Last week, AviaGames was named in a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging that the company cheated its players by using bots. That case was also filed in the U.S. Northern California District Court.

Bot Denials

Skillz and AviaGames both develop and distribute skill-based mobile gaming apps. The games can be played for free and for real money.

In cash games, the apps pair players against one another. Skillz and the plaintiffs in the proposed class-action lawsuit claim Avia has regularly used automated software to play against players. Those bots, the plaintiffs say, are much harder to beat and, therefore, reduce players’ ability to win money.

AviaGames, in court filings, rejected claims that its games use bots and are rigged. The company added that Skillz “engages in the exact conduct it falsely accuses AviaGames of carrying out.”

Skillz first sued AviaGames in 2021 on allegations of patent infringement. The company claims Avia copied its games, most evidentially with the Pocket7Games app. The Pocket7Games app includes games like Bingo Clash, 21 Gold, and Solitaire. Pocket7Games maintains a 4.5/5-star rating on the Apple App Store.

Legality of Bots

Bots are essential to many video games and are present in almost every multiplayer game, including leading titles like Halo and League of Legends. The secret use of bots in games advertised as peer-to-peer contests involving money is where Skillz says Avia runs against the law.

Play with others of similar skill levels in entertaining cash games,” the Pocket7Games app description reads. “We’re committed to providing a fair and secure social competition gaming platform for all of our players.”

Avia says players must be 18 years or older to play cash games. Money games are prohibited in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Puerto Rico.