Lawsuit Against Facebook, EA, Zynga May Be The Attack of a Patent Troll

Illustration for article titled Lawsuit Against Facebook, EA, Zynga May Be The Attack of a Patent Troll

GameTek LLC was originally the company that once operated as a video game publisher known for TV game show adaptations. But since the 90s wave of those games has washed over, and the company shut its doors in 1997 after hitting bankruptcy, it has since become the business license of an unknown company.

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What is known about this mysterious company of the same name, however, is that it is suing some of the biggest names in the gaming industry, reports Industry Gamers.

Citing US Patent # 7076445—"System and methods for obtaining advantages and transacting the same in a computer gaming environment"—the lawsuit includes charges against Facebook, EA and Zynga amongst the 21 total defendants.

Although ownership of the patent has been passed around a few times since its inception in 2000, it now rests in the hands of GameTek. Basically, GameTek is suing these companies for selling in-game goods at in-game prices. Their demands from the court are to rule in favor of GameTek that the companies in question did indeed infringe on the patent, and to prevent them from doing so again in the future.

It's not hard to think up games that use virtual currency to allow players to shop around for in-game items. Facebook is certainly a big advocate of games that use this model. But where do you draw the line when hundreds of RPGs are host to NPCs offering you fruits, mana potions and axes for sale?

Facebook, Zynga and Other Social Companies Hit with Patent Suit [Industry Gamers]

DISCUSSION

So. damn. conflicted. It's like if Bin Laden were in a fight with Hitler, except the fight is about Bin Laden kicking a dog so you're kind of on Hitler's ethical side but you still hate Hitler.

Obviously I want the patent troll do DIAF, but is it too much to hope Zynga and EA get a little bloodied in the fight?