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Cryptologic Settles Marvel Dispute

By: Shirley Spicer, Friday October 1st 2010
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In a release from its headquarters in Dublin dated September 30, the leading online gaming software developer has announced that its dispute with Marvel has been settled amicably through arbitration. In a simple release in April, 2010, Cryptologic had announced the initiation of the arbitration proceedings, more as a legal requirement than with intent to inform. There was no mention of the details of the dispute or the points of reference for the arbitration.

Though Cryptologic never brought out the contents of this dispute with Marvel in the public domain, the online gambling industry knew that all could not have been well between the two. Cryptologic had an agreement with Marvel to create branded slot games based on the comic book super heroes. At least according to the statements Cryptologic let out, this license was exclusively given to them by Marvel. Cryptologic had over 15 slot games in this series. Then Cryptologic competitor Playtech went public about a deal with Marvel that would enable them to release slot games based on Marvel movies. Playtech too claimed exclusivity. The Marvel comic books and movies have the same super heroes though the graphical depictions differ slightly. Playtech has since released about half a dozen slot games based on their agreement with Marvel. In retaliation, Cryptologic entered into an agreement with Marvel competitor DC Comics and has released slot games based on DC Comics super heroes.

At that point the online gaming industry expected a full blown battle royale between Cryptologic and Marvel, but nothing like this happened. In due course the arbitration was initiated and it has now been completed without dirty linen being aired in public. The release states "WagerLogic and Marvel have agreed to modify certain business terms of their license agreement." WagerLogic is the wholly owned subsidiary of Cryptologic that is engaged in software development for online casinos. The main bone of contention has been dealt with as follows. The agreement between Marvel and Cryptologic has been made non-exclusive, which means that Marvel can now license their comic book super heroes to other software developers. The benefit to Cryptologic is that they will be paying reduced licensing fees to Marvel. The statement does not spell out the numbers.

The other revised terms of the agreement are as follows. The agreement now includes platforms like mobile gaming and government licensed in-hotel room systems. Cryptologic can now create wagering games based on Marvel's top team of super heroes, The Avengers, in addition to the other characters already included in the license. The agreement has been extended by 12 months and will run till January 2014. One can now hope for additions to Cryptologic's Marvel series of slot games, which had come to a halt as a result of this dispute.

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