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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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Ultima Online....
By SilthDraeth on 9/18/2009 10:43:07 AM , Rating: 2
Oh wait, They bought a patent in 2002, Everquest was already out and about, as well as many other MMO's at that time, including Ultima Online. Wouldn't all of this fall under "Prior Art".

RE: Ultima Online....
By omnicronx on 9/18/2009 10:59:32 AM , Rating: 2
The patent was originally from 1998.. bought in 2002..
They may have a case with the chat portion of the patent, the far more generic 'software that aggregates messages from members of a group to more efficiently maintain consistent communication between host computers' most likely won't. Quake which obviously predates 1998 had this kind of 'netcode' for online gameplay long before 1998.

RE: Ultima Online....
By PlasmaBomb on 9/18/2009 12:35:16 PM , Rating: 2
Ultima Online was released on September 25, 1997.

RE: Ultima Online....
By juuvan on 9/21/2009 8:17:45 AM , Rating: 2
why not go to the source directly?

The IRC is probably one of the most used single piece of software IP there exist. Yet the inventor haven't pursued financial benefit from his creation. Glad that some people actually _contribute_ something to the society instead of trying to rip off everything the can.

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