[B]Sega sues Fox, EA over ‘Simpsons’ video game
LOS ANGELES, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Video game publisher Sega of America on Thursday sued a division of Fox Entertainment and industry leader Electronic Arts Inc. , saying a game based on Fox’s well-known “Simpsons” characters infringes a Sega patent.
The suit, filed in San Francisco federal court, named as defendants Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group Inc. ; Fox Interactive, Fox’s former games unit that is now controlled by the video game arm of Vivendi Universal ; the game’s developer Radical Games Ltd.; and Electronic Arts.
Sega, a division of Japan’s Sega Corp. <7964.T>, claims the 2001 video game “Simpsons Road Rage,” developed by Radical and Fox Interactive and published by EA, was designed to “deliberately copy and imitate” the Sega game “Crazy Taxi,” according to court documents.
Sega holds a U.S. patent, known as the '138 patent, on “Crazy Taxi,” in which players take the role of a taxi driver who has to accomplish outrageous driving stunts to pick up passengers and quickly deliver them to their destinations.
Sega cited reviews by video game publications of “Simpsons Road Rage” that said the game was very similar to “Crazy Taxi,” including one that characterized “Road Rage” as a “shameless incident of design burglary.”
A spokeswoman for Radical Games was not immediately available for comment, nor was a spokeswoman for Fox Filmed Entertainment. A spokeswoman for Vivendi Universal Games had not seen the suit and could not comment. A spokesman for EA said the company had not been served and could not comment.
The suit asks the court to stop the sale or import of “Simpsons Road Rage,” which has sold more than 1 million copies to date, as well as for damages for lost profits and a recall of any copies of the game available at retail.
Fox Entertainment Group is majority owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Ltd. .
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