Saturday, January 13, 2007

American Video Graphics Lawsuit

One of the first cases to catch my interest is a patent litigation involving American Video Graphics and basically every video game and hardware manufacturer. AVG is a company that acquired some patents a few years back originally granted to Tektronix back in the 80s. Now they are deciding to hold the video game industry hostage with their 4,734,690 patent "Method and Apparatus for Spherical panning." As argued by plaintiff’s pleading, the patent is meant to cover the following: imagine an object at the center of a sphere. By placing a camera on the sphere that always faces the object, a user can move the camera along the sphere to get different angles of the object. The radius of the sphere can be changed, effectively zooming in and out. Is it just me, or does this cover every freaking game created since 1996. If we think about the revenue that has been generated by "infringing" games...well...this case could be worth a lot of money; the thing that pisses me off is that, not only is AVG manipulating the video game industry (whom I love dearly), but they are also manipulating the American patent system (which I may love just a little bit more than Pearl Harbor sucked). As one PC manufacturer put it, "The patents are a mixture of an extremely general, vague variety and of an incredibly dense and complex variety. Manufacturers would need to pay a patent lawyer a lot of money to decipher whether they're even in violation of the more complex ones or not. The bringer of this suit is very conscious of that." AVG are types of fools that give the law a bad name. Who's with me? To top it off, AVG established itself (right before this suit) in the Eastern District of Texas, so that the Federal courts there would have jurisdiction over this case. Why? Because in the 5% of patent litigations that actually make it to trial in this jurisdiction, plaintiffs win 78% of the time. Coincidence...I think not

For more info:

Graphics patent holder sues Sony, MS, Nintendo

3D patent suit extended to Dell, HP, IBM, Sony, others

Patent Suits Target Game Industry

1 comment:

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