In Episode 60 of the Super Podcast Action Committee, hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about the latest SHIELD Act, the many letters of Treehouse Avatar Technologies, Nintendo's EVO misstep, Square Enix's bad idea to deal with jailbroken iOS devices, and fake geek girls. Download Episode 60 now: SuperPAC Episode 60 (1 hour, 13 minutes) 59.1 MB.
Unistellar Industries is the sixth independent studio to receive a letter from the law firm representing Treehouse Avatar Technologies on July 1. Unistellar Industries operates the space-themed MMO Rise: The Vieneo Province. The subscription-based MMO game has been operating since 2006.
When we first started writing about law firm Lerner, David, Littenberg, Krumholz & Mentlik sending letters on behalf of Treehouse Avatar Technologies to independent game development studios concerning an 858 patent (U.S Patent 8,180,858), we reached out to the signatory on those letters - Stephen F. Roth - to give him an opportunity to tells his client's side of the story.
Nobody likes them. Always hiding under bridges and eating sheep. If that weren't bad enough, they also like to acquire generic and incredibly broad patents and spam every business within earshot of infringement in an attempt to collect settlement monies. They typically have nothing to do with the patent they own and often don't make or sell anything. Other than the bridge/sheep thing, they pretty much just try to take advantage of small companies that don't have the bank to fight it out in court.
GamePolitics has learned that at least three more independent development studios received letters from the law firm representing Treehouse Avatar Technologies claiming that they "may be infringing" on a patent the company holds because they make online games. Earlier in the week we detailed how the law firm representing Treehouse sent a letter to Bothel, Washington-based indie developer Bad Pug Games.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) has penned an editorial over at The Hill espousing the benefits of the SHIELD Act which he crafted with the help of Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) with input from tech start-ups, consumer groups, and legal professionals from all across the country.
On July 1, a law firm representing Treehouse Avatar Technologies sent a legal packet to Bothel, Washington-based indie developer Bad Pug Games warning the two-man studio that it was violating an obscure 858 patent (U.S Patent 8,180,858) "Methods for Presenting Data Over a Network Based Network User Choices and Collecting Real-time Data Related to Said Choices."
This week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will announce plans to start an investigation into the questionable practices employed by patent trolls, according to a New York Times report. The investigation will be announced at a conference headed up by FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez.
Patent trolls have one more thing to worry about today as President Obama focuses his attention on curtailing their questionable legal activities with a new plan that includes five executive actions and seven legislative recommendations.
The U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. has sided with Nintendo in a patent lawsuit filed by Motiva LLC in 2008 alleging that the Wii console infringed on technology that facilitated "a system to track player position and movement." In its ruling the court gave the plaintiff a scathing rebuke while rejecting its appeal, noting that litigation was "Motiva's only activity that could be related to commercializing the technology."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is asking the Internet community to let their elected representatives in Washington D.C. know that they support H.R. 845, better known as the SHIELD Act (check it out here (PDF)). What is the SHIELD Act? "SHIELD" stands for "Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes."
At a hearing yesterday US District Judge Lucy Koh told Apple and Samsung that both sides need to limit their cases to 25 patent claims each, and no more than 25 allegedly infringing products could be listed. Judge Koh threatened to put the whole case on hold unless both sides narrow the case down and accused them of overbroad accusations.
"As this case as it is currently framed, I'm refusing to go forward," Koh said.
Just take your best shots," Koh said. "I don't want a lot of sausage filler."
Not even a year into its life, the Super Podcast Action Committee may be coming to a bitter end. Unbeknownst to its co-hosts or producer, it was violating a patent with every episode recorded and published for your listening pleasure. With the potential licensing fees and damages needed to be paid, it would kill the Super PAC over night.
A jury has ruled in favor of MobileMedia and against Apple in a patent lawsuit involving the iPhone. The jury came to the conclusion that Apple's iPhone infringes on three U.S. patents and some claims of the '068, '075, and '078 patents. The '068 and '075 U.S. patents cover "rejecting incoming calls" and call-processing techniques - or how these functions are communicated wirelessly between base stations and landline telecommunications networks. The U.S. '078 patent relates to changeable keys. The judge overseeing the jury trial, U.S.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has received $500,000 in funding from Minecraft creator and Mojang co-founder Markus "Notch" Persson and serial entrepreneur (and Dallas Mavericks owner) Mark Cuban. Both donated $250,00 each to help the advocacy group fight for patent reform in Washington, according to GII. Cuban is also a star on the popular ABC television show "Shark Tank."
Apple is fighting back against Samsung's recent move to add some of its newer devices to the ongoing patent infringement war the two have been fighting in courts around the world. After successfully getting the iPhone 5 added to a U.S. lawsuit, Samsung has asked the U.S. District Court in San Jose to add the iPod touch 5, iPad 4, and iPad mini to the list of devices that infringe on its patents.
Wildcat Intellectual Property Holdings of Dallas, Texas has sued Wizards of the Coast in Federal Court claiming that the Hasbro subsidiary has violated its electronic trading-card patent by publishing "Magic: The Gathering Online." While Wildcat is suing Wizards of the Coast, it does not name Hasbro in its lawsuit.
It is shocking just how many gamers have at least one or two games lying around that they haven't finished or haven't played. In episode 24 of the Super Podcast Action Committee Andrew and EZK spend a fair amount of time talking about that topic and revealing the results of the latest GamePolitics poll. They also dissect the latest lawsuits including one against Turbine Entertainment and a settlement agreement between Spry Fox and 6Waves over some unauthorized cloning of a popular iOS app. FX Network's Archer also gets an honorable mention..
Gaikai is being taken to court over the technology behind its game streaming services, GamesIndustry International reports. Last week, UK-based T5 Labs filed a lawsuit against Gaikai Inc. saying that the company's streaming game technology infringes on a patent it holds. Gaikai was acquired this year by Sony. Last year the company accused OnLive of violating its patents but court documents were either never filed or unobtainable at this time.
Ontario-based web services company Treehouse is getting ready to rock and troll. The company, who was awarded a vague patent (United States Patent No. 8,180,858) for the "Method And System For Presenting Data Over A Network Based On Network User Choices And Collecting Real-Time Data Related To Said Choices" (or the 858 patent as they refer to it in their lawsuit) has decided to sue Turbine in Delaware for violating the patent with its game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Interestingly enough, the patent was awarded on May 15, 2012.
In a guest post on GIGA OM, Ben Lee, the legal counsel for Twitter argues that it's high time that those who want to go to war over patents - particularly those who use lawsuits as a business model as opposed to actually building anything - should have to bear the cost of litigation.
According to this Tech Radar report, Samsung has gone ahead and added the iPhone 5 to the list of apple devices that infringe on its patents. The company has added the latest iPhone to eight complaints it has filed against Apple, claiming that its devices infringe on various patents it holds.
The popular Q&A site Stack Exchange has teamed up with the U.S. Patent Office to crowd source the patent process. They are doing this with the launch of a new sub portal at patents.stackexchange.com. The channel dedicated to patents will allow the public to scrutinize pending patent applications and will allow them to submit information, and possible prior art for the Patent Office to review.
If you want to know what it might be like to work for the dark side, then this job doing charity work for Intellectual Ventures as its "VP of Global Good" might be right up your alley. The company that is best known as a super powered patent troll is seeking someone to be in charge of doing charity work for the company from its dark citadel in Seattle.
Patent litigation can make or break a start-up and lawmakers know the entire patent litigation system is fundamentally broken - even if they won't publicly admit it. But at least one member of Congress is trying to do something about the practice of patent trolling. Peter DeFazio (D-ORE.) has introduced a bill called the "Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes Act," designed to put a stop to patent abuse.
Nintendo issued a press release this morning announcing that it has prevailed in a lawsuit filed by Copper Innovations Group, LLC. The lawsuit alleged that the Wii console and its controllers infringed on one of the company's patents (U.S. Patent No. 5,640,152). Judge David Cercone of the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh granted a summary judgment to Nintendo and further ruled that there was no need for a jury trial. Basically Nintendo proved that Copper Innovations Group's lawsuit couldn't pass the smell test.
Jury selection for the trial between Samsung and Apple over patents will begin on July 30 in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California. The case will be presided over by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh. Jurors will have to wade through the particulars of the case and decide which company has a valid claim that the other infringed on its patents related to their respective smartphone devices.
In this week’s episode of Super Podcast Action Committee, EZK and I discussed software patents and whether they’re beneficial to the games industry, detrimental or somewhere in between.
Now it’s your turn to chime in.
In Episode 12 of Super Podcast Action Committee, Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight discuss Fez developer Phil Fish's decision not to fix the patch for the game before re-releasing it to Xbox Live (because it costs too much money), Uniloc's patent infringement claims against Minecraft maker Mojang, last week's results from the GamePolitics poll, and the media trying to blame Batman comics, movies and games for the horrific Aurora, Colorado theater shooting.