NCSoft gettin' sued; Everyone else to follow?

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Secksy, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. Secksy
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  2. The Communist
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    I hope NCsoft makes it through unscathed... I want guilwars 2!
     
  3. Samakar
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    Long live NCSoft, I love City of Heroes! :(
     
  4. Grumble
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    I like this comment from the article's author:

    Does he have a background in intellectual property law? LOL! Anyway, the worst that could happen is that MMOG companies might have to start paying the patent holder dues for their 'idea'. This is what they probably wanted in the first place. Shutting them down would be of no benefit to anybody.

    IMO, any such patent holder should have to demonstrate a real, functioning product with the technology working... not just an idea. If i dream up something but don't get around to building it before someone else, it's my loss.

    I also think that Blizzard's lawyers can beat up their lawyers.
     
  5. BuzzBuzzYolk
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    Oh wow. Maybe I'll be able to be the first person to patent the way I prepare my breakfast, and I'll be able to sue the whole world.

    The way I see it, the sole act of suing NCSoft and other MMO companies for something so commonplace nowadays would a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act (in regards to their demands for the second patent).
     
  6. Aral
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    you know. theres one company who patented tortilla bread.

    tortilla bread

    something central american natives have been making for 3 thousand years


    generally, patent law is developmentally-challenged, i doubt this will go through, the technology has propagated too much, theres a whole industry around it now.
     
  7. Meemo
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    I've been following various software patent related issues on groklaw.net, so here are my thoughts on the matter:

    Generally, all the patent holder needs to do is show that fighting the lawsuit will cost the defendant more than their settlement offer will and most companies will settle. This is much easier to do in US courts because the US courts make the winner pay some of the costs (unless they spend more money to try and get the costs paid by the loser) while other countries automatically make the loser pay the winners costs.

    In fact, there are a whole lot of companies in the US who make their income from suing people over BS lawsuits because they know the people they sue will settle instead of fighting. Such as the SCO vs IBM lawsuit, which could of worked except that IBM prefers to fight these frivolous lawsuits instead of settling.

    To defend against this patent, NCSoft needs to argue that the patent is invalid. This can be done in at least three ways:
    - Argue that the patent doesn't give enough information for someone 'skilled in the art' to reproduce things covered by it.
    - Argue that the patent is invalid because the stuff covered by the patent is obvious to 'people skilled in the art'.
    - Argue that the patent is invalid because they can prove that someone else had the idea first. So they need to find something that the patent would cover that was created before the patent was filed. A quick search on wikipedia finds three examples that might work as prior art: Meridian 59 (1995), Ultima Online (1997) and EverQuest(1999). Oh wait, I already knew about the last two.

    So if NCSoft decides to fight this, I expect that they will win. Problem is, I can easily see them deciding to accept the settlement offer because it will cost them less than fighting it.

    Which is why we are seeing the lawsuit now, there is money to be made from suing people. Patent owners are able to ignore infringements for as long as they like, as long as they sue before the patent expires.
     
  8. Grumble
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    Hell, you could go back even further than Meridian to find technology that involved "Users Interact(ing) in a Virtual Space" What else would we call text-based MUD's? Even old message boards on BBS's could be argued to be this. Yeah, the more I look at it the more it seems this patent is far too vague. I hope NCSoft doesn't settle and wins, proving what parasites these patent hunters really are.
     
  9. Meemo
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    Then there is the movement to eliminate software patents because the only software patents around are ones like this one.
     
  10. Ben K
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    I looked at the "drawing" in the patent and I suspected it was derived from something I'd seen before. Looked it up, and yes, it was.

    These guys were actually the first to develop an MMO-like virtual world, but they took their time in patenting it. Worlds Chat had fallen over in the very early days of the net boom, and it looks like they were just doing this to find some way to make money off technology that they'd never found a market for themselves.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worlds_chat
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  11. Xamiazi
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    i want gw2
     
  12. Ironjaw
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    if the patent didn't kick in until this year how can they sue people for using this stuff for years?
     
  13. Sareeta
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    You've got to love patent trolls....
    I hope these world.com guys die in a car fire.
     
  14. Sour
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    This is the messed up world we live in, basically from what i see there saying they have the patent on MMO's in general as what there describing they have the patent on is the basis of every MMO as said in the article. This is really going to turn the whole industry on it's head if this goes in there favour, so I'm really hoping for the sake of MMO's as a whole this isn't found to cripple any companies especially NC soft which IMO is the key to breaking away from the WoW MMO mould atm.
     
  15. Ben K
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    Everquest was out for three years before they even applied for the patent. I think you could make a fairly good case that the horse had bolted long ago, and these guys were just too dumb to cash in themselves.

    Their Worlds Chat / Active Worlds chat program never took off and they had to fire all their staff in 1997. In 2003, Second Life came along and did what they were trying to do properly. Ironically its founder was a beta tester for Worlds all those years ago.
     
  16. Meemo
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    Don't worry, these trolls want cash. Meaning they will want GW2 to come out so they get a share of the profit.
     
  17. Molotof
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    as always PA covers the issue so well:
    [​IMG]
    take that you damn cephalopods. YEAH THAT'S RIGHT I'M ON YOU!
     
  18. Secksy
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    Dude!

    I want to sue an octopus!
     

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