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Sony, Turbine, Jagex, Blizzard, and NCsoft named in patent infringement lawsuit


It seems to be a World of Lawsuits (TM) recently in our industry. Bloggers are being sued for libel, NCsoft is being sued for patent infringement, Linden Labs is being sued for trademark violations, Turbine is suing Atari, and now five companies are all being sued over a patent dispute.

The Boston Globe has reported that Paltalk Holdings Inc. has filed a complaint in Texas against Sony Corp., Activision Blizzard Inc., Turbine Inc., NCsoft Corp., and Jagex Ltd. all for games that violate their patent on computers sharing data so that all users can see the same virtual environment. The games in question are EverQuest, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Guild Wars, and RuneScape (in order of the companies as named above.)

What makes this lawsuit different from the standard patent shakedowns that we've been reporting on is that the patent has already been successfully used in court. Paltalk has already sued, and won against, Microsoft.

In 2006, the company sued Microsoft over the multiplayer features included in Halo series. Microsoft took the suit to court, but ended up settling with Paltalk in mid-trial by paying an undisclosed sum of money. This win gives the lawsuit more legs to stand on, hence why Paltalk is now going after all of the industry bigwigs, including Activision Blizzard.

If you're confused as to how Microsoft settling to Paltalk gives them more credibility in court, it's because Microsoft's bow lends credit to the validity of the patents. This prior case can be used in court, making the suit hard to defend against. Turbine and NCsoft, as stated before, are also already involved in suits of their own, making legal defense trickier for these two companies.

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