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Turbine, Blizzard, SOE Named In Data-Sharing Tech Patent Infringement Suit

Data sharing patent holder PalTalk is now targeting Sony Online Entertainment, Turbine and Activision Blizzard in an infringement lawsuit related to technology used in multiplayer gaming.
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.

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