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It has been a good decade since Samuel Angus, then a lawyer at Lillick & Charles, went to a gaming conference and met Henk Rogers, an entrepreneur who traveled to Soviet Russia in the early ’80s to acquire rights to the popular computer game Tetris. And Rogers has been Angus’ client at various times ever since. Now they’re working together again. Last month, Angus, a Fenwick & West partner, helped Rogers sell off a company he founded, Honolulu-based Blue Lava Wireless, to JAMDAT Mobile Inc. for $137 million. The deal grants JAMDAT — a Los Angeles-based game developer — worldwide cellular telephone rights for the next 15 years. “People say, ‘$140 million for cellular rights?’” Angus says. “But Tetris is that valuable because it is a proven brand that is popular with gamers and so well-suited to the cell-phone market.” Sweetening the deal, JAMDAT expects its acquisition will increase profits by adding 10 cents to GAAP earnings per share in 2005. The deal also marks the end of the latest chapter in a two-decades saga over the ownership of Tetris, since it was created by an engineer working at the Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Disputes over the game prompted a number of suits in the ’80s by companies claiming rights to Tetris. One dispute was between Atari and Nintendo, which had licensed rights to Bullet Proof Software Inc., a company owned by Rogers. Ultimately, Rogers and another partner formed The Tetris Co. as part of an effort to move forward and commercialize Tetris. Many law firms were involved in these early disputes, but Fenwick was called into action last year when Rogers and his partner in The Tetris Co. became involved in a battle over rights. Under the terms of the deal, Rogers joins JAMDAT’s board of directors. And Blue Lava’s employees and its development team become employees of JAMDAT, which will maintain a studio in Honolulu. “This deal with JAMDAT only involved the wireless rights,” Angus says. “Part of the difficulty was defining that category. What’s a cell phone is already changing … and we had to project out 15 years.” After that, the IP reverts to The Tetris Co. “In the gaming business, 15 years is a lifetime for your typical gaming application,” Angus adds. It may be longer for the compulsively addictive Tetris. “A game like Tetris, it has already proved itself to have staying power and seems to get more as time goes on,” Angus says. Also representing Blue Lava were Fenwick partners Mark Stevens and Ronald Schrotenboer, senior counsel Michael Egger and associates R. Gregory Roussel and John Lister. JAMDAT was represented by lawyers from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton.

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