Aristocrat Suing Ainsworth Over Alleged Theft of Pokie Technology

Aristocrat and Ainsworth the two biggest names in pokies in Australia. In fact, if you play live pokies in Australia, you’re likely playing one of their machines. However, it now appears that the two companies are headed to federal court after Aristocrat Technologies recently filed suit against Ainsworth Game Technology. The lawsuit alleges that Ainsworth stole copyrighted designs for one of their most popular slot machines.

Aristocrat Suing Ainsworth for Breach of Intellectual Property Law

According to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald, Aristocrat Technologies filed a lawsuit against Ainsworth Game Technology on Wednesday in the Federal Court. Aristocrat is suing over violation of intellectual property laws.

Aristocrat is subsequently alleging that Ainsworth has stolen the designs for Lighting Link, one of their most popular pokie machines and is using that technology in Ainsworth titles. The company said  that they would “always aggressively defend” their assets, including their IP. In a statement, the operator claimed:

“This case goes well beyond simple copyright infringement and concerns allegations of extensive and deliberate misappropriation of trade secrets, confidential information, and intellectual property.  Upholding appropriate standards is part and parcel of ensuring ongoing trust in our business and industry, and is an important part of Aristocrat’s high compliance culture.”

As expected, Ainsworth released their own statement, claiming they would be “vigorously defending the claims made by Aristocrat in these proceedings.”

Aristocrat Has Pursued Legal Action Against Ainsworth Before

This is not the first time that Aristocrat has taken action against Ainsworth over their Lightning Link pokie, though. In 2018, Aristocrat filed legal actions demanding that Ainsworth turn over documentation for their Jackpot Strike pokie game. They said the game had features similar to Lightning Link.

Originally, Aristocrat demanded the source code, game rules, artwork, mathematical tables, and commercial documents for Jackpot Strike. It is unclear whether Ainsworth complied in any fashion. But since the company has moved forward with the suit, it is safe to assume that Ainsworth did not do enough to comply.

What is Lightning Link?

Lightning Link is a group of games that feature similar gameplay and the Lightning Link feature. The games include Happy Lantern, Magic Pearl, Sahara Gold, and High Stakes. All games feature 5-Reel 50 payline gameplay and pretty much similar gameplay. All games are linked together and feed multiple progressive jackpots.

Each game has two special features. If you hit three scatter symbols, you unlock the free spins bonus with a 3×3 Mega Symbol covering the middle three reels. This can even lead to a screen full of wilds, unlocking massive win.

In the other other feature tied to pearl symbols, hit six or more at a time and you get three free spins. The pearls will lock during the spins. If you get more pearls, you then unlock three spins for each pearl you get. This continues until you either stop hitting pearls or all 15 slot positions are filled.

Not Unusual Development in the Gambling World

If you play at online casinos regularly, you will notice many games with similar features, especially at online poker rooms. It is not uncommon for some sites to have similar features with different names. For example, Spin Poker is referred to as Jackpot Poker on other sites.

Such cases hinge on whether a website develops these features on its own or  copies features from a competitor. If a casino develops its own version of a game, it will have unique code and characteristics that will separate it from the original.

This is what Aristocrat is trying to determine. Did Ainsworth develop Jackpot Strike on their own or did they copy the features of Aristocrat? If Aristocrat is successful in their claim, then Ainsworth will have to pay some steep penalties for their theft.