Recent patent infringement cases filed in the Eastern District of Texas

Marilyn Tennissen Sep. 17, 2009, 4:00pm

Marshall Division

Sept. 14

  • PalTalk Holdings Inc. vs. Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., et al

    Plaintiff PalTalk is the owner of various patents relating to methods and systems for communicating over networks.

    According to the complaint, PalTalk's predecessor HearMe, formerly known as MPath Interactive, is one of the early pioneers of technology that allows users to participate in multiplayer games over the Internet.

    "PalTalk's technology provides for efficient handling of communications between players necessary to maintain a consistent game environment for all players," the suit states.

    PalTalk's predecessor filed numerous patents, specifically U.S. Patent No. 5,822,523 issued Oct. 13, 1998, to inventors Jeffrey Rothschild, Marc Kwiatkowski and Daniel Samuel.

    The patent is for a Server-Group Messaging System for Interactive Applications.

    Thereafter, the U.S. Patent Office issued other patents on HearMe's technology, including U.S. Patent No. 6,226,686 issued May 1, 2001.

    The '686 Patent is a continuation of U.S. Patent No. 6,018,766, which is a continuation of the '523 Patent. In 2002, HearMe sold the patents to PalTalk Holdings Inc.

    The '523 Patent describes using a group messaging server to receive the individual messages from each gamer's computer.

    After MPath invented its technology, online game play became of the most popular Internet activities.

    The complaint states that defendant Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. infringes the PalTalk patents through PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Network Service and PlayStation 3 game consoles.

    In addition to revenue from hardware and online services, SCEA's wholly owned subsidiaries Guerilla Games, Evolution Studios Ltd. and Polyphony Digital Inc. produce video games that use the online gaming features provided by the PS3, PSP and PlayStation Network products and services.

    SCEA also partners with certain game studios, such as Insomniac Games Inc., which also produce video games that use the online gaming features and receives royalties from other game publishers for games that can be played on the PSP, PS3 and PlayStation Network.

    In June, SCEA announced it had 25 million registered users for its PlayStation Network Services.

    Defendant Sony Online Entertainment LLC is infringing the PalTalk patents through its "massively multiplayer online role-playing game EverQuest."

    In 2004, EverQuest and EverQuest II had more than 430,000 subscribers at a cost of $8 to $15 per month.

    Defendant Activision publishes and develops games for PS3, the PlayStation Network and other proprietary gaming consoles including the Nintendo Wii. Call of Duty is a first person shooter game published by Activision and developed by the Activision subsidiary Infinity Ward.

    "When played in a multiplayer mode over the Internet, at least the Call of Duty: World at War and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare games infringe the PalTalk patents," the complaint states.

    World at War has sold approximately 1.5 million copies for use on PlayStation Network and 500,000 for use on Nintendo Wii. Modern Warfare has sold approximately 2 million PlayStation Network copies, the complaint states.

    Defendant Blizzard Entertainment infringes the PalTalk patents when World of Warcraft is played through Blizzard's service.

    Defendant NCSoft was involved in the development of the online game Guild Wars and has sold more 6 million copies of the series software. The PalTalk patents are infringed when Guild Wars are played using NCSoft's online service.

    Defendant Jagex developed and published the Runescape software.

    "Runescape holds the World Record as the most popular free massively multiplayer online role-playing game," the suit states.

    "Jagex earns revenue from Runescape by selling advertising space during game play as well as an optional $5 per month subscription for access to extra content."

    The game has 104 million subscribers worldwide, the suit claims.

    Defendant Turbine developed and published Lord of the Rings Online, which requires a subscription to play over the Internet at a cost of $10 to $15 per month.

    PalTalk claims that as a result of the unauthorized and infringing use of its patented technology, it has suffered damages in at least the tens of millions of dollars by each defendant.

    It also alleges the infringements have been willful and deliberate.

    The plaintiff is seeking a permanent injunction to restrain defendants from further infringing activities, compensatory damages, interest, treble damages for willful infringement, attorneys' fees, costs and other relief to which it may be entitled.

    PalTalk is also requesting a trial by jury.

    Max L. Tribble Jr. of Susman Godfrey LLP in Houston is attorney-in-charge for the plaintiff.

    The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge T. John Ward and referred to Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham.

    Case No. 2:09-cv-274-TJW-CE

  • TechRadium Inc. vs. AtHoc Inc. et al

    Plaintiff TechRadium, a Texas corporation with its principal place of business in Sugar Land, develops, sells and services mass notification systems that allow a group administrator to originate a single message that will be delivered simultaneously via multiple communication gateways to members of a group.

    A group member can receive the message in its choice of any combination of voice message, text message, e-mail and so on. The technology is marketed by TechRadium under the trade name IRIS (Immediate Response Information System).

    According to the complaint, TechRadium is the owner of the following patents-in-suit:

    U.S. Patent No. 7,130,389 issued Oct. 31, 2006
    U.S. Patent No. 7,496,183 issued Feb. 24, 2009
    U.S. Patent No. 7,519,165 issued on April 14, 2009

    "The IRIS system marketed by TechRadium incorporates claims included in each of these patents," the suit states.

    TechRadium alleges that 11 companies are infringing the patents-in-suit.

    The defendant companies are AtHoc Inc., BroadBlast Inc., Edulink Systems Inc., First Call Networks Inc., GroupCast LLC, Parlant Technology Inc., Reliance Communications Inc., Saf-T-Net Inc., SWN Communications Inc., SwiftReach Networks Inc. and 21st Century Communications Inc.

    The plaintiff claims each of the defendants makes, uses and sells products and services which utilize systems and methods described by claims in the '389, '183 and '165 Patents.

    TechRadium is seeking actual economic damages, exemplary treble damages, a permanent injunction, attorneys' fees, interest, costs and other just relief. It is also requesting a trial by jury.

    Andrew Spangler of Spangler Law PC in Marshall and W. Shawn Staples of The Mostyn Law Firm in Houston are representing the plaintiff.

    The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge T. John Ward.

    Case No. 2:09-cv-275-TJW

    Tyler Division

    Sept. 9

  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation vs. Lenovo (United States) Inc., Lenovo Group Ltd. and Lenovo Holding Co. Inc.

  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation vs. Sony Corp., Sony Corp. of America, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment America and Sony Electronics Inc.

  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation vs. Acer Inc., Acer America Corp., Acer America Holding Co., Boardwalk Capital Holdings Ltd. and Gateway Inc.

    Plaintiff Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), an Australian company, claims it is one of the "most diverse research institutions in the world."

    CSIRO filed three patent infringement suits based on U.S. Patent No. 5,487,069 issued Jan. 23, 1996, for a Wireless LAN.

    The suits claim that defendants Lenovo, Sony and Acer are infringing the '069 Patent. The infringing acts include the manufacture, use or sale of products practicing the IEEE 802.11a, 802.11g and/or draft 802.11n standards.

    According to the complaint, the accused products do not include products practicing or implementing IEEE 802.11a/g/or draft n standards solely through the use of Wireless LAN integrated circuits supplied by Intel Corp.

    CSIRO is seeking a permanent injunction against defendants, enhanced damages for willful infringement, interest, attorneys' fees and other just and proper relief. CSIRO is also requesting a trial by jury against each defendant.

    S. Calvin Capshaw of Capshaw DeRieux LLP in Longview is representing the plaintiff in each lawsuit.

    The cases have been assigned to U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis.

    Case No. 6:09-cv-399-LED (Lenovo)
    Case No. 6:09-cv-400-LED (Sony)
    Case No. 6:09-cv-401-LED (Acer)

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