Just announced this morning, Engage Expo is giving away 200 free expo-only passes.

Engage! Expo, taking place September 23-24 at the San Jose Convention Center, provides insight into the best practices, current trends, and effective strategies of social media and user engagement. They have 200 free expo-only passes available. This is a great chance to walk the floor and get some fantastic networking in. First come-first serve. Grab one before they're gone. Full show details are here at

A colleague of mine, Mikko Manner, recently published an article regarding Pirate Bay in the Entertainment Law Review. The article begins, as you may know:

On April 17, 2009, the District Court of Stockholm, Sweden announced its verdict in the so-called ‘‘Pirate Bay case’’1 against four individuals associated with a file-sharing website and service called The Pirate Bay, directed at the file-sharing community. The court found all four guilty of contributory copyright infringement, and each was sentenced to one year in prison. In addition to imprisonment, the defendants were ordered to pay damages in the amount of 30 million Swedish kronor ($3.6 million, 2.7 million Euros) to a handful of entertainment companies, including Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Bros, EMI and Columbia Pictures, for the infringement of 33 specific movie, music and gaming titles.

Read the entire article here.

Here's a nice article from about it, too.
Wi-Fi network company Bandspeed, Inc. has filed a patent infringement suit against Sony Electronics Inc., Nintendo of America, Inc. and Apple, Inc.

In the suit, Bandspeed alleges that the Sony PS3, Nintendo Wii and Apple iPhone 3G all infringe upon two of Bandspeed’s patents. The patents are U.S. Patent No. 7,027,418 (entitled “Approach for Selecting Communications Channels Based on Performance”) and 7,570,614 (entitled “Approach for Managing Communications Channels Based on Performance”), and they appear to be generally related to managing wireless communication channels using frequency hopping, so the suit is likely to target the wireless network functionality of the accused products - here’s a sample claim from the ‘418 patent:

1. A method for selecting communications channels for a communications system,
the method comprising the computer-implemented steps of:

selecting, based upon performance of a plurality of communications channels at a first time and channel selection criteria, a first set of two or more communications channels from the plurality of communications channels;

selecting, based upon performance of the plurality of communications channels at a second time that is later than the first time and the channel selection criteria, a second set of two or more communications channels from the plurality of communications channels;

wherein the communications system is a frequency hopping communications system and the plurality of communications channels correspond to a set of frequencies to be used based on a hopping sequence according to a frequency hopping protocol; and

wherein at each hop in the hopping sequence, only one communications channel is used for communications between a pair of participants.

We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. The suit is Bandspeed, Inc. v. Sony Electronics Inc. et al., No. 09-593 (W.D.Tx filed Aug. 7, 2009).

Zynga, the social game developer, filed many more lawsuits a couple weeks ago. Just as in the other recent lawsuits that Zynga has initiated over the past few weeks, Zynga is again suing for trademark infringement. Again, Zynga is alleging the defendants are violating its Terms of Service for its Texas Hold ‘Em Poker game by using the ZYNGA mark without authorization in order to sell virtual poker chips to be used in its online poker game. The new cases are:

  • Zynga Game Network, Inc. v. Does 1-5, Case No. 5:09-cv-03210-HRL, filed in N.D. Cal. on July 14, 2009.

  • Zynga Game Network, Inc. v. Andrew Moss et al., Case No. 5:09-cv-03208-RMW, filed in N.D. Cal. on July 14, 2009.

  • Zynga Game Network, Inc. v. Chris Sim II, Case No. 5:09-cv-03211-RS, filed in N.D. Cal. on July 14, 2009.

  • Zynga Game Network, Inc. v. Danny Bling, Case No. 4:09-cv-03263-CW , filed in N.D. Cal. on July 16, 2009.

  • Zynga Game Network, Inc. v. John Does 1-5 dba, Case No. 3:09-cv-03265-MHP, filed in N.D. Cal. on July 16, 2009.

  • Zynga Game Network, Inc. v. Nadir Erkan, Case No. 3:09-cv-03264-EDL, filed in N.D. Cal. on July 16, 2009.

  • Zynga Game Network, Inc. v. Carmi Solak, Case No. 3:09-cv-03206-WHA, filed in N.D. Cal. on July 14, 2009.

  • Zynga Game Network, Inc. v. Jason McCann, Case No. 3:09-cv-03209-SI, filed in N.D. Cal. on July 14, 2009.

Click here for an interesting article regarding Zynga’s online poker game and how its plethora of lawsuits may prove it isn’t trying to profit from the secondary market for chips.

Kotaku reports that last week Microsoft was assigned U.S. Patent No. 7,559,834, filed in 2002, for “Dynamic join/exit of players during play of console-based video game.”

This patent claims “A squad-based shooter video game [that] allows players to dynamically join and leave the game, while that game is in progress, without the players having to save and restart the game. When a new player joins an in-progress game, a new squad member is allocated to the new player and the screen is split to present a viewing panel for the new player that depicts scenes from the perspective of the new squad member. When an existing player leaves the game, the screen is unsplit to remove the viewing panel for the exiting player and that player's squad member becomes part of the squad being controlled by the remaining player(s).”

According to Co-Optimus, “[f]rom the patent description, timing and pictures, it appears to be for the 4 player co-op game Brute Force from the original Xbox… Other details in the patent include the ability to switch between squad members on the fly, AI controlled squad mates when not in player control, and hardware details of how it functions.”

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft licenses or asserts this patent against developers of other squad-based games using split-screen where players can join and drop out, or whether they decide to just keep this one in their portfolio.
Fenner Investments Ltd. v. Microsoft et al., the case regarding U.S. Patent No. 6,297,751 for a “low-voltage joystick port interface,” is being appealed to the Federal Circuit.

On July 15, 2009, Fenner Investments filed a notice of appeal in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Fenner is appealing the final order granting summary judgment of noninfringement to Microsoft and Nintendo made in March 2009 and an August 2008 opinion interpreting the patent claim language at issue in the case.

According to Law360, Fenner’s lawyer commented on the appeal: “We disagree with the district court's ruling on the motion for summary judgment and believe that the court of appeals will see it our way and reinstate the case,” said Robert Chiaviello Jr., an attorney for Fenner in this case. “His ruling was based on two claim terms, and we disagree with his interpretation for both terms,” he said.

Jerry A. Riedinger, an attorney for Nintendo, seems unworried about the appeal. “We believe that Judge Davis rendered a very good decision and we're confident that the Federal Circuit will recognize the quality of his decision.”

Read Fenner’s Notice of Appeal here.
IQ Biometrix, Inc. v. Perfect World Entertainment, Inc. et al.

United States District Court for N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

Case No.: 1:09-cv-03180, Filed May 27, 2009

We previously wrote about IQ Biometrix bringing suit against Perfect World et al. in May because the avatar customization available in the online game Perfect World allegedly infringed two of IQ Biometrix’s patents. It appears that a joint motion to dismiss, filed August 3, was granted on August 5 pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(2) (for voluntary dismissal). The case has been dismissed in its entirety with prejudice.
Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) is a three-day game festival for tabletop, videogame, and PC gamers. They call it a festival because in addition to dedicated tournaments and freeplay areas They've got nerdcore concerts, panel discussions, the weekend-long Omegathon event, and an exhibitor hall filled with booths displaying the latest from top game publishers and developers.

I will be speaking on a panel with Seth Krauss (GC of Take Two Interactive), Greg Boyd (attorney), and Thomas Buscaglia (the self-proclaimed "Game Attorney"). It will be a lively discussion of hot legal issues, including events ripped from the headlines to intellectual property to anything else the audience wants to discuss.

Learn more about Penny Arcade Expo and Registration here:
Please join me at Digital Law Conference - - Sept. 23-24 in San Jose. The growth of games, social media, virtual goods and virtual worlds has raised legal issues with no clear precedent. Digital Law Conference provides a detailed examination of the legal issues raised by these technologies and offers key insight into where the industry is headed and what the associated legal implications are. 7 credit hours of CLE has been applied for in MCLE states. Receive a $200 discount with the Discount Code below. Early registration ends August 14th.
Early registration ends August 14th (price goes from $595 to $795). Use this Special Discount Code: SPEAKERVIP and register by August 14th to save an additional $200 off. With the earlybird price + your discount = your cost to attend is only $495! (full price is $1,295 so you save a bundle). To register go here:
Hey everyone, we just wanted to take a moment and give a big THANK YOU to rising 2L GWU law student Jackie Unger, who has been helping out over the summer. All those posts by "Patent Arcade Staff", well, that's Jackie. She's done a tremendous job and, I dare say, learned a thing or two in the process! I think we've even converted her as a gamer, because I loaned her an Xbox360 and haven't seen it since... ;)

Good luck next year!

-Ross & Steve
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