Date: February 5, 2024, 11:24h.
Last updated on: February 5, 2024, 11:24h.
Skillz founder and CEO Andrew Paradise testified during the opening day of the company’s trial against AviaGames that the competitor stole its patent-protected gaming platform and modified it to violate its operating terms.
Paradise and three co-inventors acquired a patent for a skill-based peer-to-peer wagering platform. The patent category is known as the “‘564 Patent” and was obtained in May 2017. The patent covers the technology of pairing first-time players and repeat players of similar skill sets based on their user metrics.
During direct examination last Friday in Northern California’s US District Court with his attorney, Paradise testified that Skillz is primarily a business-to-business-to-consumer company that licenses its platform to game developers. The Skillz platform allows developers to agree to the software’s licensing terms and easily begin marketing their games and participating in a revenue share of the proceeds the game generates.
Paradise says AviaGames sought to lease the Skillz gaming platform for its own turnkey platform. The Skillz CEO said the company agreed to lend the patented “software development kit” (SDK) to Avia.
During his testimony, Paradise said Skillz decided to lend the patent to Avia because of the Hong Kong-based company’s proficiency in developing skill games.
Paradise said, “Generally, we wouldn’t negotiate with a game company. Their CEO, Vickie [Chen], is a pretty sophisticated games person [with a] track record of promotions in gaming and an MBA at Cornell.”
Paradise said that developers that place their app on the Skillz platform after agreeing to the terms receive 50% of the game’s revenue. AviaGames, however, negotiated a 70% revenue share. Paradise said Skillz agreed to those terms because the company thought Avia could help market the Skillz platform.
Paradise explained, “The concept of a company negotiating with us and getting enablement and getting a better rev share is really about the business resources they can bring to the platform, typically marketing, as well as acumen in building games.”
Soon after receiving the patented platform SDK, Paradise and Skillz allege in their lawsuit that AviaGames cloned the skill gaming technology, stole numerous games, and manipulated the patented player-pairing algorithm.
Specifically, the Skillz lawsuit alleges that Avia used computer bots instead of like-skilled real humans to compete against its customers.
AviaGames has denied any wrongdoing. The company’s attorney, Jerry Riedinger, said, “there’s more to the story” than what the plaintiffs contend.
Riedinger said during his opening statement that AviaGames does not use bots but instead developed a way that allows players to compete against one another without playing simultaneously.
Riedinger declared, “You’re going to learn about historical playthroughs. It’s where you have players playing at a different time. One player playing a match against someone who played earlier. Both of them are real people. Both of them played real games, just one played the game earlier.”
The attorney says Avia solved Skillz’s player liquidity problem that results in players often waiting to be paired through the platform.
Riedinger asserted, “Skillz doesn’t like the fact that we solved the problem. Avia has not infringed on Skillz’s patent because Avia isn’t using the player-pairing technology that was the leading reason for the patent issuance in the first place.”