Marcel Luske and PokerStars could be set to clash in court over an apparent infringement of copyright laws.
According to Luske, PokerStars reneged on a deal that allowed it to use the International Poker Rules as outlined by the Federation International de Poker Association (FIDPA).
A year before he became a PokerStars sponsored pro in 2008, Luske set-up FIDPA as a way to ensure certain standards of tournament play were upheld around the world.
From that organization the International Poker Rules were drafted and subsequently used in casinos across Europe and the US.
Owning the legal rights to the rules, Luske had control over how they could be used and that allowed him to negotiate a deal with PokerStars.
Following an alleged incident of fraud at a PokerStars tournament back in 2011, Luske states that the operator agreed to a licensing deal that would allow it to use his rules.
A handshake and a series of emails appeared to seal the deal and a $25,000 annual payment from PokerStars to Luske was agreed.
However, according to Luske’s lawsuit, no payments were ever made. In fact, after reviewing the situation, Luske alleges that PokerStars copied his rules in order to create their own.
“Every single PSLive rule is an exact copy and/or derivative of language from the International Poker Rules. PokerStars proceeded to publish, advertise and use the PSLive rules throughout the poker community,” said Luske.
Whether or not Luske’s take on the situation is correct, he’s now seeking compensation for fraud, interference with prospective economic advantage, bad faith and breach of contract.
The exact amount Luske is claiming is unclear, but his lawsuit states that he wants general and special damages as well as interest.
The lawsuit won’t be the first that PokerStars has had to deal with in recent years. Back in December 2015 the online poker operator was ordered to pay $860 million to the state of Kentucky because of its activity in the US post-UIGEA.
Although the PokerStars’ share price took a hit following the news, an appeal was quickly lodged and the company rallied.
While there’s little chance Luske will be seeking anything like that amount, the fact a former player is taking the company to court certainly isn’t great for PokerStars’ public image.