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Death Knight [Paltalk lawyer] casts [litigation] for xxx hundred million in damages.  (Source: Tenton Hammer)
Paltalk Holdings Inc. is taking on the MMO industry's biggest players in court

In online games, one crucial aspect of gameplay is to synchronize the scene across a wide array of players' computers.  Events like explosions or special effects must be transferred to and played simultaneously on a broad variety of internet connect machines which is not always an easy task.  In 2002, Paltalk Holdings Inc. of Jericho, N.Y. purchased two patents from a company called HearMe.  The patents cover sharing data among many connected computers so that all users see the same digital environment.

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 plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction."

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 Runescape. 

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 technologies.

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 an appeal.

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patenting the wheel
By jimmi on 9/18/2009 9:36:50 AM , Rating: 2
The patents cover sharing data among many connected computers so that all users see the same digital environment.

People see the "same digital environment" since the dawn of multiplayer games. This is just nonsense.

RE: patenting the wheel
By Jalek on 9/18/09, Rating: 0
RE: patenting the wheel
By Pythias on 9/18/2009 10:40:58 AM , Rating: 4
If it weren't Texas, it would have no chance. Since it is though, facts or common sense aren't really involved.

Because things like this only happen in texas.


RE: patenting the wheel
By invidious on 9/18/2009 10:08:28 AM , Rating: 2
I don't see what this has to do with MMO games. How does any multiplayer game not fall under that criteria? Hell if thats what it really means I would make the argument that the whole internet falls under that patent.

I wish I could get a patent on the process of stealing other's money through the use of outrageous patents. I would make a fortune suing these patent farms, and I would actually be using the patent!

RE: patenting the wheel
By HrilL on 9/18/2009 12:27:01 PM , Rating: 4
Write it and file it. Knowing our current system it will probably be passed.

RE: patenting the wheel
By tallcool1 on 9/18/2009 12:51:49 PM , Rating: 2
The patents cover sharing data among many connected computers so that all users see the same digital environment.
Not only would this include other online games such as First Person Shooters, but would include a mass amount of online interaction outside of gaming as well. This is a ridiculous patent.

Might as well patent human sight, since we all see the same enviroment...

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