You can read the entire article here.
But some attorneys set up virtual offices in the world as a kind of advertisement. Intellectual property specialists Banner & Witcoff did just that, and their virtual presence led to their attorney Ross Dannenberg representing one of the highest-profile virtual law cases so far.
Like the sex bed case, the Sailor's Cove case was not unlike many real-world disputes: It was an ownership conflict based on an alleged oral contract.
Dannenberg represented two users who assisted a virtual real estate developer in running a large group of islands in Second Life called Sailor's Cove. When the three parted ways, Dannenberg argued that the owner had previously made his two managers full partners and co-owners in the venture. But the owner of record claimed full ownership.
The case was settled out of court, with Dannenberg's clients receiving a financial settlement.
The case is Taser Interntional v. Linden Research in the District Court for Arizona, case 2:09-cv-00811-ROS, filed April 17, 2009.
We'll monitor developments and keep you posted.
For example, claim 6 of the '558 patent reads:
6. A computer readable medium with a software program recorded therein, the software program being for enabling a plurality of users to interact in a virtual space, wherein each user has a computer associated therewith, wherein each computer has a client process associated therewith, wherein each client process has an avatar associated therewith, and wherein each client process is in communication with a server process, wherein the software program includes instructions for: (a) monitoring, by each client process, a position of the avatar associated with the client process; (b) transmitting, by each client process to the server process, the position of the avatar associated with the client process; (c) transmitting, by the server process to each client process, the positions of less than all of the avatars that are not associated with the client process; and (d) determining from the positions transmitted in step (c), by each client process, a set of the avatars that are to be displayed.
Whereas claim 1 of the '690 patent reads:
1. A method for enabling a first user to interact with other users in a virtual space, wherein the first user and the other users each have an avatar and a client process associated therewith, and wherein each client process is in communication with a server process, wherein the method comprises: (a) receiving a position of less than all of the other users' avatars from the server process; and (b) determining, from the received positions, a set of the other users' avatars that are to be displayed to the first user, wherein steps (a) and (b) are performed by the client process associated with the first user.
Sounds logical, right?
The only problem is that Austin, Texas-based Super Happy Fun Fun Inc. had already filed an application on March 12 for OCTOMOM for computer game software; downloadable mobile entertainment software such as ring tones, screen savers and wallpaper graphics; toy action figures and accessories; puppets; balloons; chess sets; golf balls; snowboards; and even Christmas tree ornaments.
More to the point, the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, an administrative tribunal that hears appeals from applicants whose marks have been refused registration, has interpreted this particular aspect of US trademark law as prohibiting "the registration of marks containing not only full names, but also surnames, shortened names, nicknames, etc., so long as the name in question does, in fact, 'identify' a particular living individual."
Indeed, in the circa 1993 case that produced the preceding quote, In re Sauer, the TTAB upheld a refusal to register "BO BALL" (and design) for a ball on the ground that "BO" corresponded to the nickname of athlete Bo Jackson, that consumers would draw a connection between Bo Jackson and the "BO BALL" ball, and that Bo Jackson had not given written consent to use his (nick)name.
Stockton does not believe this case is much different. "'Octomom' seems to be a ubiquitous identifier for Suleman. Any attempt by Super Happy to claim that it just thought of the name itself, or that consumers would not identify 'Octomom' with Suleman, would seem to be a very difficult path to blaze in view of all the news coverage on Suleman and prior interpretations of US trademark law."
Stockton also points out that if Super Happy were to prevail at the trademark office, it would seem to run counter to another body of law, the right of publicity. The right of publicity is the right of each individual to control the commercial exploitation of her identity, and legally the right of publicity protects Suleman as much or more than US trademark law.
Super Happy Fun Fun, Inc.'s trademark application is serial number 77689864.
Nadya Suleman's trademark applications are serial numbers 77711852 and 77711827.
If you haven't already heard, the four men connected to The Pirate Bay, the world's most notorious file sharing site, were convicted by a Swedish court Friday of contributory copyright infringement, and each sentenced to a year in prison.
Pirate Bay administrators Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and Peter Sunde were found guilty in the case, along with Carl Lundström, who was accused of funding the 5-year-old operation.
In addition to jail time, the defendants were ordered to pay damages of 30 million kronor ($3.6 million) to a handful of entertainment companies, including Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Bros, EMI and Columbia Pictures, for the infringement of 33 specific movie and music properties tracked by industry investigators...
Read more at WIRED.com.
This is likely the result of recent court decisions putting the breaks on plaintiffs forum shopping into the Eastern District of Texas. However, in view of the fact that Worlds.com did not oppose the motion, the court did not need to make any independent analysis of whether the Eastern Texas wsa proper or not in this case.
We will continue to monitor developments in this case.
9th Cir., No. 07-15847, 4/2/2009
This is a placeholder post until we can review and provide more info. But in brief...
In MOAEC, Inc., v. Pandora Media, Inc., Pandora was accused of infringing two MOAEC patents related to an entertainment system for organizing, storing and playing back music. Pandora vigorously defended itself and prevailed after full discovery shortly before trial, which was scheduled for May 2009. The court granted summary judgment of no infringement of both of MOAEC’s asserted patents.
Please click here to view the decision.
While not strictly a game case, it does deal with media companies and patents. Given the proliferation of music-related games, its not inconceivable that a similar lawsuit could one day be filed regarding Rock Band, Guitar Hero, etc...
Please direct all media inquires to Colleen Strasser at email@example.com or 312.463.5465
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Hey everyone, PatentArcade.com is now on TWITTER! Yep, you can follow us by following GameLawyer at twitter.com, or by selecting the link on the right of the PatentArcade.com home page.
Judge David G. Campbell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ruled Wednesday, April 1, 2009, that the $6.5 million judgment that had been stipulated following a bench trial was the maximum damages MDY's founder Michael Donnelly would have to pay the video game giant. That decision, along with a permanent injunction on the sale of the software bot on tortious interference grounds, was reached at the end of January.
The case is MDY Industries LLC v. Blizzard Entertainment Inc. andGames Inc., case number 2:06-cv-02555-DGC, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.