Turbine Slapped With Patent Infringement Suit

Fans of Lord of the Rings Online may have a new adversary, and I’m not talking about some successor to Sauron. A Canadian web services company called Treehouse Avatar Technologies has slapped Turbine with a patent infringement suit over a patent they filed earlier this year called “Method And System For Presenting Data Over A Network Based On Network User Choices And Collecting Real-Time Data Related To Said Choice.”

Treehouse claims that elements in both LOTRO and D&DO infringe on this patent. However, it’s almost certain they’ll lose. They only got the patent in May, and these games, well, they’re kind of older than that. On the other hand, corporate politics gets evil, so I’ll keep my skepticism low until more information comes out. It’s entirely possible there are grounds that will only come out in court, though, you know, I doubt it. You can check out the filing for yourself here.

Via Joystiq.

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4 Comments on Turbine Slapped With Patent Infringement Suit


On October 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm

So basically… Presenting an option and someone choosing that option over the internet, that’s what they’re attempting to patent?


On October 18, 2012 at 8:00 am

I haven’t bothered to read the actual patent, but it sounds like they patented custom display information based on profile information entered by the user when such information (profile and display) is transmitted via a network.

And, it might very well hold up. It’s not the date of the patent vs the date of the game (or original design idea), but the date of the initial submission of the patent which could be years earlier.

Of course, Turbine could fight it based on prior art regarding profile and such. I may look up that patent, as I find it hard to believe it was issued. There must be something that makes it special. I mean, we’ve have internet forums for years that have profile information and modify the look and feel of a forum based on that.


On October 18, 2012 at 8:08 am

Ok.. after a very brief examination of the patent:

1) It was initially submitted in November of 2010, so I’m really surprised it was issued.
2) It appears to have to do with the ability to create a customized character/avatar which then is the embodiment of you on that site. They use ‘network site’ but I suppose it could apply to any MMO.

Since games like WoW and Guild Wars (among countless others) have been doing that sort of stuff for many years earlier, it’s possible that they are referring strictly to web-based applications. I’m not really familiar with LotR Online. Is it web-based?


On October 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Say what??

This is a joke, right? Even for a patent troll this must be a joke? They are really that stupid?
I won’t even bother pulling up Wikipedia or more specialized sources of information on that one… instead I’ll get some popcorn and a party horn.