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.
Back in March La Quadrature du Net (a non-profit association defending the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet) joined 47 European and International organizations in asking the European Parliament to exclude provisions related to patents, copyright, trademarks, data protection, geographical indications, or other forms of so-called intellectual property from the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).
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."
This week the European Commission issued a preliminary antitrust ruling against Google’s Motorola Mobility related to its heavy handed tactics against Apple in German Courts. The finding could ultimately lead to a large fine for Motorola (and by extension Google) and could lead to Motorola being forced to enter an agreement with competitors to license its patents for a reasonable royalty rate.
The Federal District Court in Seattle, Washington has given Google's Motorola Mobility a slap in the face, ruling that its FRAND patent fees collected from Microsoft to be worth only about $1.8 million a year. The court said that the H.264 video standard and the 802.11 wireless standard patents weren't worth the $4 billion Motorola was seeking to collect.
Lodsys, a company that seems to specialize only in filing patent infringement lawsuits, has added a number of new video game industry targets in the mobile games space. According to Ars Technica, Gameloft, Gamevil, BackFlip Studios, Pocket Gems and The Walt Disney Company are now named defendants for violating a patent the company holds related to technology used for in-app purchasing.
On Friday the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) finally and formally dismissed a case brought forward by Google's Motorola Mobility unit that alleged that Microsoft's Xbox 360 violated a handful of its patents. ITC Judge David Shaw issued the ruling on Friday, dismissing the last of the five patent disputes. The verdict is still subject to a review by the ITC, and Google retains the right to appeal the decision if it so chooses.
Nintendo has lost a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Tomita Technologies and has been ordered to pay $30.2 million. The patent relates to glasses-free 3D displays, which Sejiro Tomita claims Nintendo used to develop its 3DS hand-held after a 2003 meeting with the plaintiff where he introduced his technology to engineers within the company. Nintendo has been ordered to pay $30.2 million in damages to Tomita Technologies after a jury found that the company infringed on a patent for glasses-free 3D displays.
Apparently Apple has filed a patent application that would allow them to - get this - develop a system that would allow the resale and transfer of "used" digital goods. The new patent application published by the USPTO shows how Apple might be able to enable users to resell or lend digital content they’ve purchased in the past. The patent accounts for transfers that can take place either through the original content provider’s store or directly between users. The method described would also allow for transfers of content that is stored in the cloud.
It looks like Apple has just gotten its hand slapped away from Samsung's cookie jar - according to a report this morning on AllThingsD. Judge Lucy Koh, the judge overseeing the Apple-Samsung patent trial threw out part of the billion dollar verdict Apple had previously won in the long-running case and ordered a new trial to determine damages for patent infringement.
Nintendo is the target of a patent infringement case that claims its use of 3D technology in the 3DS violates the patents held by 58-year-old inventor Seijiro Tomita. Opening arguments in the case began today, according to Destructoid. Tomita claims that he presented his glasses-free 3D technology to seven Nintendo officials at their Kyoto headquarters in 2003. At the time, claims Tomita, he was looking for licensing partners as he awaited his patent application to be approved.
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."
A patent filed for in 2011 by Sony Computer Entertainment America (and unearthed last week by web site Dark Zero) uses load times to determine if software being loaded into a system is legitimate or pirated.
The patent, "BENCHMARK MEASUREMENT FOR LEGITIMATE DUPLICATION VALIDATION," is described as follows in the patent application:
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."
As expected, Google has backed off of its International Trade Commission complaint against Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, which uses one of its video compression patents. The company had sought to stop the sale of the system in the United States while Microsoft and its subsidiary Motorola duked it out in court over royalty payments related to FRAND patents. But earlier in the week the Federal Trade Commission stepped into the fight, ordering Google to take a more reasonable approach to "essential patents."
On Friday after the Federal Trade Commission issued an order on Google's Motorola patents and how the subsidiary needed to stop charging high royalties on FRAND patents it holds, Microsoft went into action.