Light & Wonder sued by Aristocrat over alleged copyright infringement

Aristocrat Light & Wonder
Image: Shutterstock

Two of the world’s largest slot suppliers are in a contentious legal battle.

According to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, Aristocrat is suing Light & Wonder over claims of copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, deceptive trade practices, trade dress infringement, and unfair competition.

The suit centers around Dragon Link, a popular Asian-themed casino game developed and sold by Aristocrat. The supplier accuses Light & Wonder of orchestrating a campaign to copy Dragon Link through the hiring of former Aristocrat executives and game designers.

Aristocrat alleges that Light & Wonder changed the name of one of its games to confuse customers and released another title, Jewel of the Dragon, that also copies Dragon Link elements. Aristocrat has filed the suit as Light & Wonder plans to bring those slot games to regulated U.S. markets in the coming months following commercial success in Australia.

“Jewel of the Dragon was a cheap knock-off. Despite copying the graphics, sounds, and trade dress of Dragon Link, and despite including similar game features as Dragon Link, Jewel of the Dragon failed to capture the unique player experience created by the underlying Dragon Link math,” alleges Aristocrat in the 50-page suit.

Aristocrat has alleged that a former employee, Emma Charles, was hired by Light & Wonder after working on the math models of Dragon Link. Aristocrat alleges Charles used her knowledge to provide Light & Wonder with a title with similar gameplay to Dragon Link.

Light & Wonder has taken exception to Aristocrat’s claims and has offered a reaction.

“Aristocrat’s U.S. lawsuit is the latest installment in its continued international campaign to undermine the release of L&W’s innovative competing products,” said Light & Wonder in a response. “Rather than competing on an even playing field in the market, Aristocrat has contrived baseless legal claims in multiple jurisdictions coinciding with the release of L&W’s products in an effort to tarnish L&W’s product rollouts and drive customers away.”

Light & Wonder claims that its games have been developed over years with innovation in mind. Aristocrat is seeking monetary damages and an injunction against Light & Wonder for its alleged copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation among other claims.

Aristocrat is also asking the court to order the disintegration of all alleged trade secrets.

Not all aboard for Aristocrat

Earlier this month, a piece of intellectual property featured in the suit, Dragon Train, made its debut at several U.S casinos. The Light & Wonder title, which launched in other international markets in 2023, is allegedly copied from Aristocrat’s Dragon Link.

Light & Wonder has launched Dragon Train in Nevada, California, Kansas, and Minnesota. The game, which will expand to other U.S. markets, is housed on Light & Wonder’s dual-screen cabinet.