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The Nevada District Court on Monday (24 June) partially dismissed Aristocrat Leisure’s Dragon Link lawsuit against Light & Wonder (L&W) but allowed the key claims to proceed.

In her order, judge Gloria Navarro allowed Aristocrat’s claims of trade secret misappropriation and copyright infringement to move forward.

However, she dismissed claims related to trade dress infringement and deceptive trade practices, giving Aristocrat 21 days to amend those portions of its complaint.

It follows Aristocrat Technologies suing L&W for allegedly copying its popular “Dragon Link” slot machine games in March 2024.

An Aristocrat spokesperson told NEXT.io: “Aristocrat is pleased the court has upheld a number of its substantive claims in this ruling and will continue to strongly protect its IP.”

L&W declined to comment when contacted by NEXT.io.

The case centres on Aristocrat’s allegations that L&W hired away former Aristocrat employees and used their insider knowledge to copy the underlying mathematics, functionality and visual elements of Dragon Link games.

Aristocrat claims this resulted in Light & Wonder producing suspiciously similar “Dragon Train” games.

Judge rules core Aristocrat infringement claims can proceed

On the trade secret claims, judge Navarro found that Aristocrat provided enough detail about its confidential game information and how it was allegedly misappropriated.

She allowed the copyright claims to proceed as well, ruling that Aristocrat sufficiently identified specific audio-visual elements it believes were copied.

However, the judge found fault with how Aristocrat described its trade, meaning the overall look and feel of its games.

She said the company needs to more clearly define exactly which visual elements it’s claiming protection for, without using vague language about “other distinctive audio-visual elements.”

The deceptive trade practices claim was dismissed for lack of specificity, with the judge instructing Aristocrat to better explain how L&W actions map onto the legal elements of that claim.

This ruling allows the core of Aristocrat’s case to move forward, while requiring the company to shore up some of its secondary claims.

The judge also lifted a stay on discovery in the case and ordered the parties to propose a schedule for briefing Aristocrat’s pending request for a preliminary injunction against L&W.

The case is the second major federal infringement lawsuit between major suppliers in the US casino space.

L&W is defending another infringement suit in the Nevada District from Evolution, which began in May.

The live casino giant is alleging L&W used its confidential Lightning Roulette math files and pay-out structures for its RouletteX and PowerX games.

The information was reportedly obtained during partnership talks between Evolution and L&W’s subsidiary LNW Gaming, which centred on creating a land-based version of the game.

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