MMO Developers Sued for 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.

  • ricardok
    Here we go again.. Let's all cry out loud: The US patent system is clearly broken!
  • Jazzmain
    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.
  • andrewcutter
    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)
  • valcron
    Gah stop allowing people to patent a general idea. Patents need to be for an idea but with a specific solution.
  • I have a patent on the design of the eiffel tower I could sell you >_>
  • ben850
    so it's taken them 7 years to get on this? obvious troll is obvious.
  • crisisavatar
    Oh wow are you kidding me.
  • sheath
    ya...a 2002 purchased patent is infringed 3 years earlier by EQ when it was launched in 1999
  • 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."
  • zachary k
    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.