Hollywood Screenwriter Sues Microsoft Over Unreleased Game

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Roger Avary has sued Microsoft Corp. in California court for stealing his idea for a virtual yoga studio. The two had met several times and Microsoft sought his advice for winning over women to videogames, Avary's attorney said on Tuesday. Avary seeks at least $30 million plus punitive damages and has asked a judge to stop Microsoft and co-defendant ResponDesign Inc., an Oregon game publisher, from selling the yoga game, called "Yourself! Fitness."

Ted Spooner, Chief Executive of ResponDesign, calls the claims "completely false," and said Microsoft "did not participate in the development of this product in any way, shape or form." He went on to say, "We've invested the hearts, minds and souls of our 16 employees in creating this product ... it is a wholly original idea that was created before any discussions this individual had with Microsoft." A Microsoft spokesperson said the company has not seen the lawsuit and had no comment.

According to the lawsuit, Avary met several times with Microsoft pitched them a detailed concept for a video game designed to lead players through yoga poses using Microsoft's Xbox game console. After handing over his confidential notes for an "internal review," Avary heard nothing from the Redmond, Washington-based software maker until Microsoft asked him to sign an agreement that "would have resulted in Avary transferring all rights to his concept ... with no compensation," the suit said.

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