This case was well on its way to jury trial, but was dismissed on March 25, 2011, following a settlement by the parties.
Case Update 12/9/09:
As previously reported, Beneficial Innovations, Inc. (“Beneficial”) filed suit in the Eastern District of Texas accusing several entities of willfully infringing claims of U.S. Pat. No. 6,712,702 entitled “Method and system for playing games on a network.” Beneficial, a patent-holding company based out of Nevada, subsequently amended its complaint to include U.S. Pat. No. 6,183,366 entitled “Network Gaming System.” On November 30th, Beneficial and three defendants - Digg Inc., CBS Interactive Inc, and Jabez Networks Inc. indicated that a settlement had been reached and filed motions requesting dismissal. The motions, which were granted by Judge Ward, dismissed all claims, affirmative defenses, and counterclaims between the three defendants and Beneficial with prejudice. While the terms of the settlements are confidential, the court’s order indicated that each party would bear their own legal fees and costs.
A new gaming lawsuit was recently filed in the Eastern District of Texas. Beneficial Innovations owns U.S. Pat. No. 6,712,702 on in-game advertising in network games. Claim 1 of the patent reads as follows:
1. A method of playing game instances on the Internet, comprising: first receiving player identification at a game playing Internet accessible node (GPIAN) for first and second players; transmitting, via the Internet, from the GPIAN, first information related to communications between: (a) the GPIAN, and (b) a first Internet accessible node from which the first player communicates with the GPIAN; wherein said first information is utilized in subsequent Internet communications between the GPIAN and the first Internet accessible node; wherein said first information is stored on the first Internet accessible node so that it is available in subsequent different Internet connections by the first player; second receiving, via the Internet, at the GPIAN, first responsive information indicative of said first information being present on said first Internet accessible node; first playing with the first player a first instance of a game, wherein one or more game play representations are transmitted to the first player via the first Internet accessible node; second playing with the second player a second instance of a game, wherein one or more game play representations are transmitted to the second player and from the GPIAN while the first player is playing the first instance; transmitting to at least one of the first and second players, respectively, during one of said first and second games instances, a presentation substantially unrelated to plays of the one game instance, wherein said presentation is advertising a product or service; wherein said step of second receiving at the GPIAN occurs when the first player has reconnected the first Internet accessible node to the Internet after said first information has been stored on the first Internet accessible node and said first Internet accessible node has disconnected from the Internet.
Not exactly bedside reading.
The case is Beneficial Innovations, Inc. v. Blockdot, Inc. et al., Case No. 2-07CV-263, in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, filed June 20, 2007. We'll add this case to our watch list and let you know what happens...