Sunday, September 20, 2009

Paltalk sues Jagex

You might have already heard about this lawsuit. If not, full story is here (Paltalk sues a bunch of MMOG companies including Jagex for patent infringement). The patent in question is about distribution of messages within MMOGs. In this context we are not talking about clan chat or players text messages, but about ALL game messages (movements, actions etc.) between player computers, that is about the very core of MMOGs. Unfortunately, from what I can see the threat is very real and dangerous for Jagex (and subsequently to Runescape players). Yes, Paltalk is making an outrageous claim which is infuriating millions of people, but, they are not looking for respect - they are looking for money. And money they may get, just as they already got it from Microsoft in a very similar suit. On a brighter side I do hope that Jagex's motto of developing everything by themselves may help them this time (assuming their way of passing messages between player computers and servers has some unique distinction from the patent's core).

To finish it off, here is an official Jagex's statement about the matter from RSOF. So don't despair. Yet...

Hi Guys,
Just to bring you up to speed, whilst Paltalk is making as much PR capital as they can on this matter, Jagex have yet to be served with any court papers and I expect being a British company it will probably take a few months before that happens.

Jagex respect all 3rd party IP rights and prides itself on developing all of our own technology which has not only made us a leader in this space but also means we are confident having assessed their patents, that there is no merit to their claims and this is all simply the work of ambulance chasers trying to extort money from a successful games studio.

Naturally I can’t speak for Activision or Sony, but it goes without saying that we will vigorously defend ourselves against any claims and whilst it may take a number of months or possibly even years for Jagex to triumph, there is no doubt we will triumph. The accusations will not affect Jagex’s operation in any way nor stop us continuing to create the world’s best online games.

Mark Gerhard


NeobotXP said...

They'd better watch out. My patent on 'Respiring at sea level' is in its final stages.

(btw you wrote Unfortunately....treat is very dangerous. Should be threat)

Vaskor said...

Thanks, fixed.

Primadog said...

Time to add a new entry "Patent Troll" to the RuneWiki...

Timothy Gold said...

Heh. No matter what the outcome, you really have to admire Mark Gerhard's drive.

G said...

I wish this were in the states so I could actually look up the docket information.

Any brits out there working in the law field and looking to share?

Ham100000001 said...

Doubt anything will come of this other than publicity and work for Jagex's legal team.

Primadog said...

Here you go G

Knifestorm said...

There is lots of prior art where multiple users see the same digital environment so I think Paltalk is on thin ice.
"But", I hear you say, "Microsoft paid them off so they must have a good case"; not necessarily.

Here is my conspiracy theory:
Microsoft was faced with a choices of paying $ x million to their lawyers to smack down Paltalk, or they could pay $ y million to Paltalk to make the problem go away. Microsoft decided to pay $ y million to Paltalk because they know Paltalk will use the money to pursue other court case against other game makers. In other words, Microsoft payed Paltalk so Paltalk could harass Microsoft's competition.

It would be in character.

Vaskor said...

Knifestorm, very plausible theory, indeed.

Meili said...

Wow this is the first I have heard of this, I will have to google to find out more.

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