New York-based PalTalk Holdings, owner of several patents related to data sharing among connected computers, is once again targeting major video game publishers -- including Sony Online Entertainment, Turbine and Activision Blizzard -- in an infringement lawsuit related to technology used in multiplayer gaming.
Earlier this year, PalTalk settled a $90 million lawsuit
against Microsoft under undisclosed terms, after alleging that Halo
and the Xbox 360's multiplayer features violated its patents.
According to the Boston Globe, this concession on Microsoft's part now creates an additional challenge
for other publishers in PalTalk's sights, since the settlement can now be viewed as a validation of PalTalk's patent rights.
PalTalk filed suit collectively against the publishers of Everquest, Lord of the Rings Online
and World of Warcraft
in the U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas. A Boston attorney told the Globe that this particular district, a "plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction," is a popular stage for patent lawsuits.
At the crux of PalTalk's earlier suit against Microsoft were two patents PalTal purchased from MPath related to "controlling interactive applications over multiple computers." Challenging the $90 million suit, Microsoft had alleged the company only paid $200,000 for the patents.
MPath is best known for the MPlayer PC gaming service, which was later sold to GameSpy. MPath was also responsible for VoIP (voice over internet protocol) and video conferencing service HearMe, which PalTalk still operates.