League of Legends developer promises it's not a patent troll

Riot Games explains its patents on spectator mode features and promises not to use them offensively.

Developer of the hugely popular League of Legends Riot Games has said that it has no plans to use its patents offensively.

Riot made the statement on its official website after a user on the game's subreddit called attention to a patent the company was granted by the US Patent Office. The patent pertains to several aspect of the spectator mode, allowing the camera to "time shift" (replay), and calculate "interest values" to automatically follow different players in the match.

Riot also has patents on its matchmaking system and Tribunal feature, which allows the community to claim and review complaints against other players.

"We have no interest in using any patents offensively," Riot CEO Brandon Beck and president Marc Merrill wrote on the company's official website. "The US patent system is broken and needs reform. Many gaming companies -- including us -- are getting attacked by patent trolls."

The post encouraged fans to read up on the subject on the Electronic Frontier Foundation website, and reminded them that Riot has previously given written permission to the community to us its intellectual property in many ways.

"We won’t get in the way of anyone else building awesome spectator features," Riot said, "but we do want to make sure League of Legends players can always spectate freely."

In that case, presumably, Riot's patent is aimed only to defend itself from other patent trolls, who acquire great amounts of patents for cheap, then leverage the threat of a lawsuit to earn money in a settlement.

However, the heighten suspicion over big companies filing patents is partly warranted given the recent news about King.com acting upon its trademarking of the word "candy."

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Discussion

38 comments
J_Dangerously
J_Dangerously

Riot says this now, but in 10, 20 years... who's to say how they'll use them?


Remember, kids.  I'm old enough to remember when EA was a small developer making revolutionary games for the Commodore 64, and look at them now.

popocatepe
popocatepe

I, for one, think that this thing about patenting, is like a kid's game of "I got here first". Which is just a lie. Who knows how many thought of these features before them or created parts of them but never went to the patenting office. It's like paying money for walking to Adam and Eve, because they were here first, or the monkeys. Of course people will copy what you do, if they like it. It's in our nature. If people wouldn't copy, the world would be a really Really REALLY original place with a lot of random stuff happening that only a certain individual would know about. Talk about CHAOS! Copyright is just a way some people found so they could get more money from what they were making, before a lot of OTHER people would learn how to do it themselves. 


Sorry for my English!

June-GS
June-GS

The reason for this "defensive" patent is actually quite sensible, at least to me. As long as Riot stay true to their word, that it's to protect our freedom. However, King.com's reason for trademarking "candy" is just utter nonsense. They're not really protecting anyone with that BS.

dethtrain
dethtrain

Software algorithms should not be allowed to be patented

Gen007
Gen007

Yeah lol is a target now with how big it is so i can def believe this is a defensive move cause then next thing you know some random company somewhere on the planet(thats really a broom closet)  is claiming that they stole the spectator mode from them. The patent system does need to be re worked though such things shouldnt qualify for patents in the first place but thats not riots fault.

lostn
lostn

BTW, I think software patents are a bad idea. Software is ideas any designer or programmer can come up with. It doesn't require specialized talent outside of coding. It rewards those who have the virtue of being born earlier. Nintendo has a patent on Z-targetting. Anyone could have come up with that idea after them, but too late, it's patented now, because they got to it first. NEver mind that you weren't born yet when Nintendo patented it. If you want to make a game with z-targeting you either have to pay Nintendo for it, or they can deny you permission to implement it.


100 years from now when every software idea has already been patented, there's not going to be a whole lot left that generation of game designers can do.

lostn
lostn

They still don't have replays. It's been 5 years since they've been "working on it". I doubt they have the werewithal to do it. Though I will admit their spectator mode is very good.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

By all means, please do. It's not the patent holder's duty to use patents responsibly, only legally. It's the patent law maker's duty to make sure patents can ONLY be used responsibly.

FlameBoyBen
FlameBoyBen

whenever I see the word patent I think monsanto, hence in my logic it is bad! :P

ACMC85
ACMC85

Time shift sounds similar to other features already. Interest value is cool and would be better in DOTA 2.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

No one gets patents to not use them.  They either use them offensively or use them defensively to prevent other people from making something.


In this case, other companies are prevented from adding useful features to their games for fear of being sued.  That is nonsense and Riot should be ashamed of itself.

Poison-tooth
Poison-tooth

Small typo in the fifth paragraph: «... Riot has previously given written permission to the community to us its intellectual property in many ways»

Talavaj
Talavaj

Patenting game mechanics should not even be a thing, you should only ever be able to patent the actual code, but patenting an idea ? That sounds downright ridiculous.

thefyeman
thefyeman

The community on the other hand.... some of the worst scum I've ever encountered.

soccerpzn
soccerpzn

why post this article when most of the idiots on here don't even know how patents work.

pyro1245
pyro1245

now normally I would say that patents are a good thing. They provide a way for designers to feel secure that no one else can make money off of their ideas; it's basically an incentive to come up with cool things. However, once you're outside the realm of unique products they become nonsense. This is not a valid thing patent imo.

Piris
Piris

That's exactly what a patent troll would say

wexorian
wexorian

how they can patent tribunal system or spectating mode wtf

Dsolow5
Dsolow5

LoL should patent its method of getting millions of people to play such a lousy game.


I guarantee a lot of publishers are interested in figuring that one out.

mortalsaw
mortalsaw

everything gets abused whatsoever 

Saidrex
Saidrex

"US - land of many laws, all of them broken and stupid."

Soon someone will attempt to copyright all letters of alphabet and based on copyright laws in US - it's doable.

charlesswann
charlesswann

Amazon started this nonsense with the One Click Checkout patent.  The world is going to the dogs.

Rakou
Rakou

@bluefox755  I personally hated the LoL art (and no, I dont play Dota)

BenderUnit22
BenderUnit22

@Thanatos2k  No, Riot's patent claim is there to assure no other party can patent any of the features Riot has already been using for years in their spectator mode and demand a licensing fee or legally force them to remove the feature. As it says in the article, they will not prevent other companies from implementing these ideas into their own games.

Unetteh
Unetteh

@cleversherlock  Someone who holds patents but doesn't do anything with them except for suing people who infringe on them

Hayasmez
Hayasmez

@thefyeman Oh you've seen nothing, mention League of Legends on PC Gamer and the Dota2 fans fart out a massive shitstorm of profanity and attacks worse than anything i've seen on the lol tribunal.

schu
schu

@Dsolow5  


hahaha..hit the nail on the head...they are masters of this

Sumpskildpadde
Sumpskildpadde

@Saidrex  It's seriously one of the dumbest things in the world that you're permitted to patent single words. Oh hey, let's patent "Candy" so no one else is allowed to make games containing the word "Candy"!. Some times you really just wanna follow Farnsworth's example and leave this planet...

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@BenderUnit22 @Thanatos2kYou can't patent something that has evidence of prior work.  It's not a race to the patent office.  You can make something and not patent it - it prevents other people from patenting it too.

kik4444
kik4444

@Sumpskildpadde @Saidrex  Yeah lol, imagine someone DOES patent all the letters and no one will be allowed to make games with talking.