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The following is a list of lawsuits involving Sega.

List of lawsuits

This list is incomplete.
The following list has been marked as incomplete. If you can, please complete it.
Name Citation Argued Decided Comments
Entertaining Comics v. Nihon Goraku Bussan 196x 196x The slot machine Mad Money Star caused some legal issues for Sega, as it chose to use Alfred E. Neuman's trademark face from Mad magazine without first seeking permission. Mad owners EC Comics threatened to sue Sega if Mad-branded machines were brought into the United States.[1]
Segasa v. Sega Enterprises, Ltd. 19xx 19xx Eduardo Morales-Hermo of the Spanish Sega distributor Segasa sued the Japanese Sega Enterprises, Ltd. over the first "use of Sonic".[2]
Sega Enterprises, Inc. v. Computer Video Services 198x[3] 198x Although the specific game which caused the lawsuit goes unmentioned, Cash Box implies it may have been a Frogger clone.[3]
Sega Enterprises, Inc. v. London Conversion Company 198x[3] 198x Although the specific game which caused the lawsuit goes unmentioned, Cash Box implies it may have been a Frogger clone.[3]
Sega Enterprises, Inc. v. Omni Micro Technology Ltd. 1981-12 1982-01 In December 1981, Sega Enterprises, Inc. filed a lawsuit against the company for illegally distributing a clone of Frogger named Leapfrog.[3] Deemed to be a "substantial copy" of the original game, Sega obtained orders to seize infringing goods and documents relating to the title from Omni's offices. The company was also forced to provide written notification to England's High Court promising to desist from any further acts of infringement.[3][4]

Following the lawsuit, Omni appears to have entered into an agreement with Sega Enterprises to properly license and distribute Frogger through their signature Gamepack system, being advertised as early as January 1982 - the following month.[5][6] Fittingly, the company featured this newly-acquired official license front and center in print ads, now boasting "the support of the world's major 'original' game manufacturers".[7]

Sega Enterprises Ltd. v. Richards 1982[8] 1983[8] In 1982, Sega successfully sued Mr. John Richards of the arcade distribution company Trolfame for illegally distributing Frogger clones, cited as one of the earliest cases of video game copyright law being tested - and the general foundation of modern anti-piracy game law.[8]
Sega Enterprises, Inc. v. Alca 198x 198x Sega successfully sued Alca for illegally distributing Frogger clones.[9]
Philip Morris U.S.A. Inc. v. Sega Enterprises Ltd. 1991-02-21 In February 1991, the American tobacco company Philip Morris International sued Sega Enterprises, Ltd. for unauthorized use of their branding in the game Super Monaco GP (which features thinly-veiled parodies of popular racing sponsors). An initial complaint was filed when one of Philip Morris's lawyers spotted branding while visiting an arcade in November 1989. The firm demanded that Sega removed what it saw as trademark infringement immediately, citing also that it did not want to be seen advertising to minors. Sega conceded immediately and began the process of removing the advertisements from the game.

Co-chairman of Sega David Rosen issued a statement shortly claiming that the inclusion of "fleeting billboard parodies" was an "innocent attempt to mimic real-life locations and scenery to enhance the realism of game play"[10]. It had been claimed that the in-game banners were sponsored by Philip Morris, something both companies denied. The Marlboro advertisements were also criticised by the US Federal Trade Commission as many arcade users at the time were children.[11]
Sega completed the changes and began issuing free conversion kits in March 1990[12], plus a $200 check to entice arcade operators into making the change. However, adoption of the kit was not good enough for Philip Morris, who sued in February 1991 when it emerged many older cabinets were still in active service. By May 1992, the two companies had reached an agreement. Sega would also distance itself from plagiarizing official Formula One cars and sponsors in the home ports of the game.[13]

RazorSoft, Inc. v. Sega of America, Inc. 1991-07-22[14][15][16] In 1991, disagreements between RazorSoft and Sega over the cost and order size of Sega's proprietary Sega Mega Drive cartridges[17][18] led to Stormlord being released in a smaller run of self-manufactured cartridges (as opposed to purchasing them directly from Sega, as contractually-obliged.)[17][16] While the company still paid full royalties to Sega[17][18], their developer license was revoked in June 1991, and Sega refused to publish any of their future games. RazorSoft then sued for breach of the Sherman Antitrust Act on July 22, 1991.[14][15][16]
Sega of America, Inc. v. RazorSoft, Inc. 1991-08[14][15][16] Following RazorSoft's July 1991 lawsuit against the company, Sega of America counter-sued both RazorSoft and its development studio Punk Development the following month for copyright infringement and breach of contract.[14][15][16] The final outcome was settled out of court, with RazorSoft agreeing to purchase future cartridges from Sega, having their developer license restored, and Sega dropping the lawsuit.[17]
Sega Enterprises Ltd. v. Accolade, Inc. 977 F.2d 1510 (9th Cir. 1992) 1992-07-20 1992-10-20 Accolade's acts of reverse engineering Sega Genesis software to learn about its security systems and subsequent publishing of unlicensed Sega Genesis games are protected under the fair use doctrine of copyright law. Sega is held responsible for using its security system to place its trademark on Accolade's games.
Beeshu, Inc. v. Sega Enterprises Ltd. 1993-07-15 On July 15, 1993, Beeshu sued Sega Enterprises through its Western subsidiary Sega of America in a California federal court. Beeshu claimed that it had become the principal accessory manufacturer for Sega's consoles in 1990 and, per its contractual agreement, did not produce accessories for any other client. Beeshu alleged that Sega subsequently used its proprietary information on the manufacturer's accessories to contract another manufacturer for similar accessories (particularly its wireless gamepads). Beeshu stated that it discovered this in October 1991, and that it caused the company to halt production of its products for Sega - eventually culminating in a loss of sales by September 1992, as retailers like Toys "R" Us began stocking Sega's new accessories in place of Beeshu's. With the lawsuit, Beeshu was seeking $20,000,000 in lost sales and an additional $10,000,000 in damages.[19]

Sega of America hired Silicon Valley's tech-specialized lawfirm Fenwick & West to represent them. Ultimately, the firm's arguments resulted in the dismissal of Beeshu's claims for damages, with the manufacturer voluntarily dismissing their case altogether.[20]

Atari Corp. v. Sega of America, Inc. 869 F. Supp. 783 (N.D. Cal. 1994)[21] 1993[22] 1994-08-12[21]
Sega Enterprises, Ltd. v. Shenchu Electronic Equipment Factory, Inc. 1994-09-07 In the early to mid 1990s, Sega Enterprises, Ltd. sought legal action against various Chinese clone video game manufacturers. One of these companies, the Shenzhen-based Shenchu Electronic Equipment Factory, was successfully fined and ordered to halt the sale of pirated video games on September 7, 1994.[23][24]
Sega Enterprises Ltd. v. Maphia 857 F. Supp. 679[25][26] 1994
948 F.Supp. 923[25][27] 1996-12-18
3Dfx Interactive, Inc. v. Sega Enterprises Ltd. 1997-09-02[28]
Ingalls Moranville Advertising v. Sega of America, Inc. 1997 In 1997, when Sega of America dropped the firm in favor of Foote, Cone & Belding, Ingalls Moranville sued for breach of contract and was awarded $185,000.
Sega Enterprises, Ltd. v. King-Wei Electronics, Inc. 2000[29] It is rumored that the Taiwanese clone console manufacturer King-Wei Electronics was sued by Sega Enterprises, Ltd. sometime in the late 1990s. While King-Wei ceased operations in April 1998[30], Sega is said to have won the lawsuit in 2000.
Nike, Inc. v. Sega of America Dreamcast, Inc. 2002-02-07 In February 2002, Nike announced it had filed a lawsuit against Sega of America over an NBA 2K2 ad which largely copied the premise of Nike's famous Frozen Moment commercial.[31]
Manchester United, plc v. Sega Publishing Europe, Ltd. 2020-05 In May 2020, Manchester United plc announced it was threatening to sue Sega Publishing Europe and the developers of the Football Manager series - Sports Interactive - for both not displaying the proper Manchester United crest beside the team name during gameplay (despite this having been the case since 1992[32]), and for failing to stop modders from releasing Manchester United-related content.[32][33]
Marcelo Muto v. Sega of America, Inc. et al 2021-07-12[34][35] A consumer class-action lawsuit brought against Sega of America over alleged fraud and rigging in Key Master redemption games.[34][35]


  2. Interview: Eduardo Morales-Hermo (2022-10-05) by Sega-16
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 File:CashBox US 1981-12-12.pdf, page 45
  4. K Horowitz (2018). The Sega Arcade Revolution: A History in 62 Games
  6. (Wayback Machine: 2023-07-27 10:02)
  7. File:Frogger AC UK printad OmniMicroTechnology Gamepack.png
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2
  9. Talk:Frogger/Bootlegs
  10. File:SuperMonacoGP US Statement 1990-01-12.png
  11. ACE, "April 1991" (UK; 1991-03-08), page 8
  12. File:SuperMonacoGP US Letter ConversionKit 1990-03-15.pdf
  13. Super Monaco GP
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 File:PhoenixtheFallandRiseofVideoGames Book US 3rd.pdf, page 153
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 GamePro, "November 1991" (US; 1991-xx-xx), page 142
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 (Wayback Machine: 2021-06-08 05:24)
  18. 18.0 18.1
  19. (Wayback Machine: 2021-01-31 00:29)
  21. 21.0 21.1
  22. (Wayback Machine: 2023-05-26 14:08)
  23. (Wayback Machine: 2021-06-22 23:47)
  24. 25.0 25.1
  27. Press release: 1997-09-02: 3Dfx Interactive Files Lawsuit Against Sega Enterprises, Sega of America and NEC Corporation
  28. KW-501
  30. 32.0 32.1 [ ]
  31. (Wayback Machine: 2023-09-22 02:53)
  32. 34.0 34.1
  33. 35.0 35.1