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Ark dev in legal hot water over game's origin, staff

Kotaku reports that former Trendy dev Jeremy Stieglitz is at the heart of the case for allegedly working on Ark in secret since leaving Trendy in 2014, using technology he developed while at Trendy.

There's a good bit of reporting over on Kotaku today about an ongoing lawsuit filed against Ark: Survival Evolved developer Studio Wildcard last year by Trendy Entertainment owner Insight Venture.

What's notable here is that former Trendy dev Jeremy Stieglitz is alleged to have been working on Ark since leaving Trendy in 2014, using technology he developed while at Trendy. 

Moreover, Stieglitz (who cofounded Trendy in 2010) is alleged to have poached multiple Trendy employees to work on Ark, even after he received a cease-and-desist letter about the practice from Trendy's lawyers in the summer of 2014.

If these allegations are true, Stieglitz would reportedly have violated his non-compete agreement with Trendy on multiple fronts, not least of which that he was allegedly bound by his non-compete to offer Insight a 20 percent share of any game-related activities he engaged in for five years after leaving Trendy, with a "right of first refusal" on the other 80 percent of those activities. 

"In short, Stieglitz took Insight's money, developed a new game in violation of all of his contractual obligations, and then together with his wife and Wildcard schemed to deny Insight the very rights that he had promised in his new business," reads a complaint filed by Insight in Florida court. "Accordingly, Insight has been left with no choice but to file this lawsuit to obtain what Stieglitz promised."

Stieglitz's wife is one of the people who cofounded Studio Wildcard in late 2014, and took to Twitter yesterday to complain about taking part in an 8-hour court deposition.

Gamasutra has reached out to both parties and been told by representatives that neither company will comment on the topic. If you or someone you know is being affected by this matter you can email Gamasutra to tell your story confidentially.

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