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$20-Million Suit Accuses Cinemaware of Trade Libel

A $20-million lawsuit was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court against Cinemaware Corp. of Westlake Village by Beyond Software, a San Rafael computer game developer. Beyond Software alleged in the suit that Cinemaware, a software publisher, engaged in trade libel, unfair competition and violation of federal racketeering laws.

The suit arose from what Beyond Software called a misleading letter by Cinemaware to other software publishers. Beyond Software said the letter indicated that Cinemaware, and not Beyond Software, owned the rights to a new computer baseball game and that Cinemaware would sue any company that agreed to publish the game. Beyond Software said the letter was an attempt to keep it from selling the game to Cinemaware competitors.

Beyond Software said Cinemaware once held the publishing rights to the game, but voluntarily surrendered them by canceling a development contract.

Cinemaware said it had no knowledge of the suit.

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