United States District Court for S.D. Miss.
Case No. 3:09-cv-346HTW-LRA, Filed June 11, 2009
On October 7, 2009, Prime Table filed a notice for dismissal of the case under FRCP 41(a)(1). Rule 41 allows a plaintiff to dismiss an action without a court order by filing a notice of dismissal before the opposing party serves either an answer or a motion for summary judgment. In this case National Table Games had not responded to Prime Table’s suit with any court filings before Prime Table filed the voluntary dismissal. Based on the amount of time between the lawsuit being filed and dismissed, the parties likely started settlement discussions immediately after the case was filed, and Prime Table Games kept agreeing to delay the deadline for National Table Games to file its Answer to the Complaint in view of ongoing settlement discussions.
Prime Table Games is the creator and marketer of gambling games that are generally intended for use in casinos but can also be played in other formats such as video and remote games. Prime owns U.S. Patent No. 6,503,145, issued January 2003, which describes a method for a poker "casino game with multiple playing modes and wagering options." According to the patent, the game is supposed to be a player-friendly version of showdown poker that operates with little-to-no casino advantage.
The ‘145 patent abstract describes the game as such:
A casino game incorporates a first compulsory playing mode and one or more optional playing modes without a house advantage. Preferably, the first playing mode is a three-, five- or seven-card poker game against a payout scale based on the respective hand poker rank. Optional modes without a house advantage include head-to-head poker games against the dealer and poker games against other players. Side wager options are also available for high hands, thereby increasing player interest by providing a chance for a high payout.Representative Claim 1 reads:
1. A method of playing a casino game, comprising: (a) receiving a first wager for a first playing mode, the first playing mode being compulsory; (b) receiving at least a second wager for at least a second playing mode, wherein the second playing mode is without a house advantage; (c) dealing hands of playing cards to a dealer and to at least one player, and resolving the first wager according to a poker rank of the player hand against a payout scale; and (d) resolving the second wager without a house advantage according to a poker rank of the player hand against one of (1) a poker rank of the dealer hand, and (2) a poker rank of another player hand.Prime is suing National Table Games (formerly Gammax, Inc.), alleging that National's casino poker game Flop Poker, released March 2003, infringes the ‘145 patent. Prime alleges National knew about Prime's patent since at least mid-2004. According to National's website, the Flop Poker game is National's most popular and is used in casinos across the country.
We’ll keep you updated as the case progresses. Read the full complaint here.