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MMO Developers Sued for Patent Infringement

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 55 comments

Paltalk Holdings is tackling Activision Blizzard, Sony, and other MMORPG developers, crying "patent infringement, patent infringement!"

The latest trend as of late seems to be suing other companies--especially high-profile corporations such as Apple and Microsoft--for alleged patent infringement. In the gaming arena, Bethesda is currently threatening to sue Interplay for such a violation, and now a Jericho, New York company is suing Turbine, Sony, Activision Blizzard, NCSoft, and Jagex, trying to attempt a lawsuit against the MMORPG developers as well.

Paltalk Holdings Inc. filed its lawsuit in the infamous US district Court in Marshall, Texas, home of the patent lawsuit frenzy. According to the company, it purchased two patents from HearMe back in 2002 to cover technologies for sharing data across a network of computers so that all users can view the same virtual environment in real time. Obviously games such as EverQuest, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars and other MMORPGs feature this type of gameplay, and Paltalk claims that these games violate the patents it purchased.

The Boston Globe is reporting that Paltalk already defended these patents against Microsoft, claiming that the multiplayer features of the Halo franchise violated the patents. Microsoft eventually chickened out and settled with the company out of court by paying an undisclosed wad of cash to license the Paltalk patents. At the time of this writing, Turbine, Sony and the other developers have not commented on the lawsuit, however it's believed that PalTalk may have the upper hand thanks to Microsoft caving in and a plaintiff-friendly courtroom.

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Top Comments
  • 27 Hide
    ricardok , September 16, 2009 11:51 PM
    Here we go again.. Let's all cry out loud: The US patent system is clearly broken!
  • 18 Hide
    andrewcutter , September 17, 2009 12:04 AM
    what do you get when you put together
    A broken patent system
    B patent trolls who patent ideas for trolling

    A + B ==== C?

    i say hell for innovation. Im going to patent the wheel. Oh no somebody already patented a circular travel device which touches the road... I guess ill just patent a elliptical one, prove that all circles are elipse but not all ellipse are circle and sue the circle patent holder....
    (bangs head)
  • 15 Hide
    sheath , September 17, 2009 12:33 AM
    ya...a 2002 purchased patent is infringed 3 years earlier by EQ when it was launched in 1999
Other Comments
  • 27 Hide
    ricardok , September 16, 2009 11:51 PM
    Here we go again.. Let's all cry out loud: The US patent system is clearly broken!
  • 10 Hide
    Jazzmain , September 16, 2009 11:52 PM
    damn, maybe I should see about buying some patents so I can become rich. Forget the lottery, patents are the new wave for free cash.
  • 18 Hide
    andrewcutter , September 17, 2009 12:04 AM
    what do you get when you put together
    A broken patent system
    B patent trolls who patent ideas for trolling

    A + B ==== C?

    i say hell for innovation. Im going to patent the wheel. Oh no somebody already patented a circular travel device which touches the road... I guess ill just patent a elliptical one, prove that all circles are elipse but not all ellipse are circle and sue the circle patent holder....
    (bangs head)
  • 14 Hide
    valcron , September 17, 2009 12:10 AM
    Gah stop allowing people to patent a general idea. Patents need to be for an idea but with a specific solution.
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , September 17, 2009 12:10 AM
    I have a patent on the design of the eiffel tower I could sell you >_>
  • 11 Hide
    ben850 , September 17, 2009 12:18 AM
    so it's taken them 7 years to get on this? obvious troll is obvious.
  • 5 Hide
    crisisavatar , September 17, 2009 12:22 AM
    Oh wow are you kidding me.
  • 15 Hide
    sheath , September 17, 2009 12:33 AM
    ya...a 2002 purchased patent is infringed 3 years earlier by EQ when it was launched in 1999
  • 14 Hide
    Anonymous , September 17, 2009 12:41 AM
    Valcron said, "Gah, stop allowing people to patent a general idea."

    It's really "Patenting a general idea, waiting for someone else to successfully innovate using something vaguely resembling it, then raking in the cash by the boatload off of their hard work."
  • 11 Hide
    zachary k , September 17, 2009 1:12 AM
    why do all these nobodies have patents they do nothing with? our patent system is messes up. perhaps a patent on patent trolling will stop all this.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , September 17, 2009 1:23 AM
    "what do you get when you put together
    A broken patent system
    B patent trolls who patent ideas for trolling"

    As the Gnomes say, "Profit". Gnomes are geniuses at corporations.
  • 5 Hide
    zachary k , September 17, 2009 1:25 AM
    (sorry for double post, we need a delete or edit feature) America is a democracy, and all i see on the comments on stories like this is "its broken" lets stop whining about it and write some people in Washington, and that one judge. couldn't hurt.
  • 3 Hide
    Sicundercover , September 17, 2009 1:31 AM
    Well Microsoft caving doesnt help their case at all. The only way you can have a legal precedent is if the court went to decision, not if they 2 parties settle.
  • 4 Hide
    gt1209 , September 17, 2009 1:34 AM
    When were those patents approved? EverQuest was released in March 1999, prior art might be Sony's defense if those patents were granted later.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , September 17, 2009 1:52 AM
    There have been synced virtual worlds before everquest as well. Meridian 59 was 1995, the realm was arround 97 ish, i know there are others, likely going back to early 90s. If you dont count graphical mmos, then there have been synced worlds in text form for longer then taht.

    Our patent system is just broken.
  • 1 Hide
    False_Dmitry_II , September 17, 2009 2:31 AM
    Well, it did say that they were purchased in 2002. It did not say when it was patented.
  • 7 Hide
    bachok83 , September 17, 2009 2:34 AM
    Patent this idea "a company that does nothing but suing other companies" and counter sue them.. :) 
  • 4 Hide
    Major7up , September 17, 2009 2:35 AM
    These companies buy patents like this then sit back and potential infringements accrue and then after enough have built up, they pounce. I think there should be a statute of limitations of say 5 years after which if you did not catch it and sue, you are out of luck.
  • 5 Hide
    rmse17 , September 17, 2009 2:40 AM
    This actually affects all multiplayer games that have a network connection..?
  • 2 Hide
    Liandros , September 17, 2009 2:44 AM
    I see three patents online for this company.
    Could it be this one? US7206311 - Efficient transmission of data to multiple network nodes - 04/17/2007

    http://www.patents.com/Paltalk-Holdings-Inc/New-York/NY/290366/company/
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