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Epic confirms courtroom triumph - Silicon Knights must pay $4.5m

Five year legal war ends as jury rejects Denis Dyack's claim that Epic was in breach of licence agreement

Epic Games was today awarded $4.45 million in damages following a jury's verdict in a North Carolina court, the company has confirmed to CVG.

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The Unreal Engine 3 vendor said "the jury rejected Silicon Knights' claim that Epic breached its Unreal Engine 3 license agreement".

In what will be marked as a significant victory that concludes a five year legal war with Silicon Knights, the court also ruled in favour of Epic in all of its counter claims. Silicon Knights, developer of Too Human, must pay Epic Games the $4.45 million directly.

It is unclear how significant these damages are in terms of Silicon Knights' own objective to stay in business. The studio has in recent years shed its workforce after state officials in Ontario pulled investment from the company.

The court ruling's effect on the reputation of Denis Dyack's company is also a matter for dispute. Silicon Knights is now judged to have breached its Unreal Engine license agreement, misappropriated Epic's trade secrets and infringed Epic's copyrights in the Unreal Engine 3 code.

Epic is in the clear over Silicon Knights' claim that the Gears of War studio had committed fraud. Epic must now pay a hefty legal bill, though it has the option to request reimbursement of attorneys' fees and costs.

A Silicon Knights spokesperson was unable to comment at the time of going to press.The North Carolina court declined to discuss the matter.

In 2007 Silicon Knights founder Denis Dyack alleged that Epic had failed to provide the Ontario studio with a game engine of the quality that it was originally promised. Dyack also claimed that the expensive development of Too Human was due to his studio's decision to abandon Unreal Engine 3.

Silicon Knights went on to build its own tech, which it claimed was proprietary, to finish work on Too Human. Epic countersued Dyack's company for allegedly plagiarising Unreal tech when building its new engine.

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