Print 92 comment(s) - last by HostileEffect.. on Sep 23 at 7:54 PM

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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Bah.
By kilkennycat on 9/18/2009 11:53:35 AM , Rating: 2
You are totally correct. In US patent law it is mandatory to legally pursue your patent rights immediately you discover that there is a violation. The "immediately when you discover" is the interpretation/question that this particular patent troll is hoping that the Texas courts do not examine too hard. When a patent troll purchases a patent, he/she generally has a very good idea what the patent may be worth and which companies/products to target and WHEN.... In the case of these particular patents being acquired by the troll in 2002 and the length of time the subject "invention" has been in VERY PUBLIC use by the "offending" parties since that time, it should be pretty easy for the "offending parties" to prove deliberate negligence by the patent troll in following up his/her patent rights "in a timely manner". Strict US court enforcement ( and clarification by the Supreme Court if necessary ) of the "timely action" clause in US Patent law, with the onus on the patent trolls to prove that they (or those who sold them the patent) did not deliberately delay "discovery" would put many patent trolls out of business.

RE: Bah.
By George Powell on 9/18/2009 2:06:11 PM , Rating: 2
From my point of view and looking only at WoW here I would have thought that filing suit any later than early 2005 would be outside the 'timely action' timeframe.
Certainly in the case of WoW the basic game structure has not changed significantly since those early days, which were a whole 2 years have Paltalk gained ownership of the patent.
I would find it hard to believe that it took them 5 years to discover that the most popular subscription based MMORPG made use of their patented technology.

I think a 'Stop wasting this courts time - case dismissed' is in order.

As a side note to those lovely people at Dailytech, any chance we might get links to the patents in all these lawsuit articles.

RE: Bah.
By LordanSS on 9/18/2009 8:30:01 PM , Rating: 3
They're suing SOE as well, for Everquest. And Everquest has been around for much longer than WoW or any of the other MMOs. Hell, it was released even before they bought this stupid patent.

And if you really want to take this "synchronization" thing seriously, hell, the grandparents of all current-MMOs sported similar things. You could go all the way back to the Multi User Dungeon (MUDs) days. You didn't "see" the explosion, or the sword swinging, but everyone in your group indeed received the battle messages at the same time.

Just stupid.

RE: Bah.
By Solandri on 9/19/2009 4:45:17 AM , Rating: 4
If the description of the patent is accurate, they don't have a chance. BBN laid the groundwork for synchronizing events and entity motion among multiple clients in a shared simulation for the military way back in the 1980s.

RE: Bah.
By deegee on 9/20/2009 2:48:00 PM , Rating: 2
Paltalk sued MS for Halo on this patent and MS paid up.
Google 'Microsoft Halo Paltalk' for all of the news articles from earlier this year.

So Paltalk is probably going to go after every game company now that has LAN/online game play. Woe to the game industry because of a**hats like this. This should never have happened.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
Related Articles

Most Popular Articles5 Cases for iPhone 7 and 7 iPhone Plus
September 18, 2016, 10:08 AM
No More Turtlenecks - Try Snakables
September 19, 2016, 7:44 AM
ADHD Diagnosis and Treatment in Children: Problem or Paranoia?
September 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki