POKER machine maker Aristocrat Leisure has accused US-based rival International Game Technology of copying its video slot technology.
The Sydney company said yesterday it had launched legal action against IGT through its Las Vegas-based subsidiary, Aristocrat Technologies Inc.
It alleges that IGT infringed a patent on Aristocrat's ``Reel Power'' game, a product marketed on the basis that the player can win in 243 different ways.
Aristocrat has monopoly sales and manufacturing rights in the US for Reel Power, which was approved for release in Nevada in May.
The company said it was seeking ``unspecified monetary damages'' in the US District Court in Nevada over IGT's unauthorised use of the technology in its Multiway, or ``243 Ways to Win'' slot game.
Aristocrat, the world's second-biggest poker machine maker, earns most of its revenue offshore, the lion's share from the US.
Aristocrat chief executive Paul Oneile has said that the market will continue to play a major role in the company's future growth, helped partly by Reel Power.
The pokies maker booked a monster $101.7 million net profit for the first half of 2005, more than tripling its $32.3 million result for 2004.
Profits in North America surged 172 per cent to $94.7 million during the period, while strong sales and an increase in recurring revenue boosted revenue by 64 per cent to $245.2 million.
In August, Aristocrat said it expected to report a full-year net profit between $225 million and $240 million, subject to continued momentum in the US, the successful launch of a new game in Japan and a stable regulatory environment.
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