Operation Ninja S.T.A.R. Inches Towards Funding Goal

December 16, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The IndieGoGo campaign for Operation Ninja S.T.A.R. has managed to raise $2,547 of its $17,500 goal, with 26 more days to go. Launched last week, Operation Ninja S.T.A.R. seeks to raise funds to closely examine a patent owned by Treehouse Avatar Technologies to see if there is any evidence that the invention existed prior to the patent application. Their ultimate goal is to render the patent invalid.

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Operation Ninja S.T.A.R. Seeks Funding to Invalidate Treehouse Avatar Patent

December 10, 2013 - James Fudge

Inspired by the software patent trolling efforts of patent house Treehouse Avatar Technologies, a new IndieGoGo campaign launched today seeks to raise funds for a project that will ultimately help the little guy. The project is called Operation Ninja S.T.A.R., and seeks to raise $17,500 to closely examine a patent owned by Treehouse Avatar Technologies to see if there is any evidence that the invention existed prior to the patent application. Their ultimate goal is to render the patent invalid.

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U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Software Patent Case

December 9, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

On Friday the Supreme Court announced that it will take on a case that will examine the validity of software patents. The court will hear Alice v. CLS Bank, which will attempt to answer the question of whether so-called software patents are impermissibly abstract. In May of this year a divided federal court was deadlocked on the case, with five judges voting to strike down patent claims to a "computer system programmed to implement a financial transaction," and five judges ruling to uphold the claims.

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EFF Applauds Passage of The Innovation Act in the House

December 5, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) issued a statement today praising the House of Representatives passing a bill to deal with patent trolling. The bill, the Innovation Act, was supported by a majority of House members, winning passage by a vote of 323-89. All that's left is for the Senate to take up the bill, which it plans to do before the end of the year.

While the EFF applauds the House's efforts, it also notes that the Innovation Act is by no means a perfect bill:

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Turbine Settles Lawsuit with Treehouse Avatar Technologies

November 25, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

We have learned two things this week about Treehouse Avatar Technologies. Inc.: first, they are owned by a publicly traded Canadian company called - Wi-LAN Inc. (TSX:WIN, NASDAQ:WILN) and that the company has settled its lawsuit with Turbine. Apparently rather than fighting the accusations that Turbine violated its software patents the makers of D&D Online and The Lord of the Rings Online have opted to enter into a licensing agreement with the firm.

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Senator Wants to See an End to Patent Trolling Demand Letters

November 8, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) convened a meeting of the Senate Commerce Committee this week, with the goal of ending the practice by patent trolls using demand letters to extort funds from individuals and companies, according to a lengthy report in Ars Technica. The meeting brings four key personalities in patent reform to Capitol Hill to pick their brains on how to go about accomplishing such a lofty goal.

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AT&T Files Patent to Prevent Predators From Interacting With Minors in Gaming Environments

October 28, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

AT&T Inc. apparently has filed a patent on a system designed to prevent "illegal and criminal activities" on gaming networks by stopping what they describe as "predatory users" from being able to come into contact with others who are considered minors, according to IPWatchdog.

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Obama Administration Upholds Samsung Device Ban

October 9, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The Obama administration could have overturned a patent ruling that will keep some Samsung devices out of the country, but it has declined to do so, according to The Hill. Earlier this year the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) ruled that some of Samsung's devices violated patents held by Apple. It was a ruling that the Obama administration had the authority to reverse, but U.S.

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Activision Blizzard Sues Worlds, Inc. for Patent Infringement

October 7, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

In what can only be described as ironic, Activision Blizzard has filed a lawsuit against Worlds, Inc. for patent infringement. In its lawsuit, the World of Warcraft maker says that Worlds, Inc. has violated two of its patents that relate to navigating a 3D space and the interaction of objects with a 3D space. The irony is that Worlds, Inc. sued NCSoft - a lawsuit the two companies settled in April of 2010 - related to scalable chat systems and another one related to interacting in a virtual space.

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Tech Companies Battle Over Patent Protection Expansion Bills

September 25, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

Two factions of tech companies are in a battle with lawmakers over current legislative efforts to allow the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) to examine more closely the validity of patents at the center of lawsuits between several tech companies.

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Microsoft Wins Big in Motorola Patent Case

September 6, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

A U.S. District Court jury in Seattle has awarded Microsoft $15 million in damages related to its long-running patent infringement lawsuit with Motorola. This signals the end of litigation (save the appeals process) in the long-running legal dispute over claims by Motorola that the Xbox 360 infringed on several of its patents related to video decoding and wi-fi technology.

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New Zealand Bans Software Patents

August 29, 2013 - James Fudge

Software developers and patent trolls take note: the New Zealand government has passed a law that essentially makes the practice of patenting software illegal and unenforceable in the region. The law, which was under consideration and amended several times over the last five years, repeals and replaces the Patents Act 1953, which was based on the United Kingdom Patents Act 1949.

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Nintendo Ordered to Pay $15.1 Million in 3DS Lawsuit

August 15, 2013 - James Fudge

Bloomberg is reporting that Nintendo has been ordered to pay inventor and former Sony employee Seijiro Tomita $15.1 million dollars for infringing on the technology he created that was allegedly used for the 3DS hand-held gaming device. The $15.1 million represents about half of the $30.2 million Tomita was awarded by a jury when he won his lawsuit against Nintendo in March of this year.

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Federal Judge Sorts Expert Witness List in Motorola-Microsoft Patent Dispute

August 8, 2013 -

A federal judge in Seattle has swept through a list of experts that both Microsoft and Motorola want to testify in the continuation of their contentious court battle over a technology licensing dispute related to wireless technology used in the Xbox 360. The back and forth between Microsoft and Google subsidiary Motorola is about how much Microsoft should pay for essential technology on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory (RAND) basis.

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Obama Administration Overturns ITC Ban on Older iOS Devices

August 5, 2013 -

The Obama administration has lifted an International Trade Commission ban on older models of Apple's iOS devices (iPhones and iPads). As a general rule, presidents do not intervene in cases handled by the ITC - the last time an ITC ban was overturned was in 1987. The news was revealed over the weekend by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, who announced that  he would stop both an import ban and a cease-and-desist order that would have required Apple to remove the products from shelves.

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Google's Motorola Files Appeal of ITC Decision on Xbox 360 Exclusion Order

July 22, 2013 -

According to a tip sent over by Foss Patents, Google has appealed Motorola's loss to Microsoft in its ITC patent case which sought to have the sale of its Xbox 360 banned in the United States.

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Tropico 4 Developer Targeted by Treehouse Avatar Technologies

July 19, 2013 -

Kalypso Media USA has confirmed with GamePolitics that Haemimont Games has received a letter from the law firm representing Treehouse Avatar Technologies. Haemimont Studios received a letter on July 1 related to its Prohibition-era mob-themed action strategy game Omerta - City of Gangsters and how "it could be" violating Treehouse's 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."

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Veteran MUD Developer Iron Realms Entertainment Receives Letter from Treehouse

July 18, 2013 -

GamePolitics has learned that another independent game developer received a letter on July 1 from the law firm (David, Littenberg, Krumholz, & Mentlik) representing Treehouse Avatar Technologies' 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." MUD and MMORPG maker Iron Realms Entertainment received a letter at the beginning of this month similar to the letters we have already reported on concerning this particular 858 pat

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EFF and 50 Organizations Urge Congress to Reform the Patent System

July 17, 2013 -

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and 50 organizations have sent a letter to U.S. lawmakers in both houses of Congress urging them to reform the patent system. The appeal urges Congress to deal with "abuses of the legal system by certain patent assertion entities, commonly referred to as patent trolls."

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Wi-Lan Loses Patent Infringement Case Against Mobile Phone Makers

July 17, 2013 -

What happened to Ottawa-based patent-licensing firm Wi-Lan in an East Texas court this week has to be the nightmare of every company using patent licensing portfolios, lawsuits, and settlements as their business model of choice.

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Super Podcast Action Committee - Episode 60

July 15, 2013 -

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.

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MMO Developer Unistellar Industries Gets Trolled by Treehouse

July 13, 2013 -

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.

unistellar.pdf
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Treehouse Avatar Technologies Legal Representative Responds to 'Patent Trolling' Accusations

July 12, 2013 -

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.

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Poll: Should Patent Trolls Pay All Costs and Attorney’s Fees If They Lose?

July 10, 2013 -

Patent trolls.

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.

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Three More MMO Developers Receive Letters from Treehouse Attorneys

July 10, 2013 -

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.

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Rep. Peter DeFazio Puts Patent Trolls on Notice

July 10, 2013 -

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.

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Treehouse Targets Indie Studio with Threat of Patent Infringement Lawsuit

July 8, 2013 -

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."

Demand Letter.pdfPatent Claims.pdf
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Report: FTC Expected to Launch Investigation into Patent Troll Practices

June 21, 2013 -

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.

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White House Takes Aim at Patent Trolls

June 4, 2013 -

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.

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Who's Watching Who: Microsoft's Questionable Rewards Patent for Xbox One

June 3, 2013 -

This TechDirt article details a Microsoft patent application related to the Xbox One console that might give you a little pause. The patent, "Awards and achievements across TV ecosystem," uses (what we assume is) the Kinect camera and sensors to tell whether a person is watching an advertisement.

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Andrew EisenOoo, this one came down to the wire! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/749082525/nefarious09/19/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenI don't doubt that many are truly interested in journalistic integrity. The problem I'm often seeing is they seem to have no idea how or where to talk about it.09/18/2014 - 11:46pm
Andrew EisenDidn't word that well. Busy at work. I've seen people claim that GamerGate is solely about ethics and transparency in games journalism and then go on to show that what they're really after is silencing those who talk about gender issues in games.09/18/2014 - 11:45pm
Kronodebate. Becaus apparently people who only post on Reddit are supposed to police twitter before they're allowed to question anything about the people involved.09/18/2014 - 10:40pm
KronoI highly doubt many, if any are using journalistic integrity as a cover for harassment. The people harassing are essentially trolls. They aren't interested in subtle. More often it's othe other way around. People use "but X is being harassed" to shut down09/18/2014 - 10:38pm
Andrew EisenAnd exacerbating everything is the fact that all the cries of ethics violations have been obnoxious and easily proven false.09/18/2014 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenProblem is, I would imagine, the sheer number of people who are using journalistic integrity as a cover for their harassing actions or only bringing it up on the false pretense of journalistic integrity.09/18/2014 - 8:47pm
Andrew EisenHaving said that, I can certainly see how one would be frustrated if they truly just wanted to talk about journalistic integrity and someone said they were one of the people harassing Sarkeesian, Quinn and others (though I've seen no examples of that).09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoThat's been the common refrain, that talk of journalism ethics is just an excuse to harass people.09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoLines like "like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion." are taring everyone questioning the ethics as a harasser.09/18/2014 - 8:43pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Except, none of the articles were talking about gamers complaining about journalist ethics, let alone called them white male misogynists. They were talking about the gamers who were harassing others.09/18/2014 - 8:36pm
Kronomakes plenty of sense. It's rather hard to dismiss someone as a white guy running a sock puppet when they've posted proof they're a woman, or black, or another minority.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat any critics of journalists were white guys that hated women, and could be dismissed as such. It seems to have helped some. It's kind of difficult to maintain the white guy narrative in the face of a bunch of women and non-white guys. So the tag09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat, someone vented on a #gamergate 4chan thread about being dismissed like that. The suggestion they got in return was to organize their own hashtag in response, with #NotYourShield being suggested. Thus the tag came into use to combat the undercurrent09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronomuch more general problem. And while several of the articles were fairly tame, they spured a bunch of people to dismiss any critics of the journalism involved as misogynistic men. Usually with insults aimed at the geek stereotype. After about a week of09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - Not sure what that has to do with anything but yeah, the gender percentages differ depending on how the study defines what a gamer is.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
KronoThe rhetoric pushed by the spearheading articles that the "gamers" complaining about journalist ethics were just angry white male misogynists, insulted a lot of people that were previously fairly neutral. It made it go from a Kotaku problem, to a09/18/2014 - 8:31pm
Krono@Andrew I'm not surprised overlap exists. I expect much of it is a rush to jump on the bandwagon, either by reporting on the original articles, or rushing out their own. The point is that was a major flashpoint, much bigger than the reddit mass deletion.09/18/2014 - 8:31pm
Sleaker@AE - well the gamer trend was described with stats on Factual Femenist. Only 1 in 7 males plays games 20+ hrs going into college vs 1 in 40 females. So gaming is definitely still male dominated despite fake stats trying to say otherwise.09/18/2014 - 8:30pm
Craig R.Do conspiracies ever make sense? The fact that people are now having to defend themselves against nutjob websites like Breitbart.com shows how far down into the rabbit hole we've all been forcibly dragged.09/18/2014 - 7:05pm
 

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