Now Paltalk, a reputed patent monger, has taken
many of the massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming industry's
biggest players to
court in Marshall, Texas, claiming they violate its patents.
Paltalk hand picked the east Texas court for its long history of
favoring plaintiffs (patent holders) in lawsuits. States
Christopher Donnelly, a partner at Donnelly Conroy & Gelhaar LLP
in Boston, "The eastern district of Texas is considered a
Paltalk is suing
Turbine Inc. of Westwood makers of the Lord of the Rings Online
MMORPG, a popular $15 per month entry; Japan’s Sony Corp., maker of
the online game Everquest; Activision Blizzard Inc., whose World
of Warcraft is the world’s most popular subscription-based
online game; NCSoft
Corp. of South Korea, maker of the game Guild Wars; and the
British firm Jagex Ltd., which produces the free online game
Noticeably absent in the suit are CCP Games,
makers of EVE Online; Square Enix makers of the popular Final Fantasy
X11; Linden Lab, which produces the popular Second Life game; and
GRAVITY Co., Ltd., which produces Ragnarock online, a game popular
for its free servers. It is unclear why Paltalk singled out the
companies it did, while ignoring others, which likely use similar
Paltalk has a strong legal track record.
In 2006 it took Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, to
court over technology in Halo. The case went to a trial in
Marshall, Texas, in March. Mid-trial Microsoft gave in,
conceding the validity of Paltalk's clients and paying it a
reportedly massive undisclosed licensing fee.
The firm, like
others, looks to continue to milk the patent system -- and the U.S.
software industry -- for all its worth in the friendly Texas courts.
Last month a Texas court ordered Microsoft to stop
selling Microsoft Word within 60 days, as well as paying $200M
USD in damages to another patent monger firm. The ban has been
temporarily lifted, but the damages remain, unless Microsoft can win
quote: Hay I should get a paten for putting ideas down on paper!
quote: "The PalTalk complaint summarizes two former HearMe patents: one, filed in 1998, covers a group messaging server that organizes group lists of players. The second patent covers software that aggregates messages from members of a group to more efficiently maintain consistent communication between host computers, according to the complaint."
quote: Companies and people shouldn't be allowed to horde patents, if they don't use them
quote: Patents should not be given to companies that never intend to use them.
quote: Only the strongest MMO geek can survive such conditions (unless they can get their Mom to drop them off at the door).
quote: The patents cover sharing data among many connected computers so that all users see the same digital environment.
quote: If it weren't Texas, it would have no chance. Since it is though, facts or common sense aren't really involved.
quote: Even in the constitution it is stated that what we are going to do is give the inventor a limited time where he/she is the exclusive right holder. No limitations on him/her producing or practicing the invention.
quote: where it seems a large majority are 'common sense' applications of software.
quote: I believe that when they purchased the patents they knew they were already being violated therefore, their damages should be limited to their purchase price.
quote: In 2002, Paltalk... purchased two patents.