Lets face it companies knew that it is cheaper to get sued later than to pay first... take them to the cleaner "BOYS"
Texas-based Bareis Technologies contends SOCOM, Tom Clancy, NASCAR franchises violate protected disk-based speech recognition method.
Multiplayer has become widely recognized within the game industry as a crucial component for keeping a game in gamers' consoles. In turn, a core aspect of an effective multiplayer mode is letting gamers communicate with one another through voice chat. However, the method by which EA, Sony, Ubisoft, and Disney have been allowing gamers to chat has purportedly been implemented without the consent of the company that owns the patented technology.
Last week, Plano, Texas-based Bareis Technologies filed a suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on grounds that the aforementioned gaming companies are in violation of one of its patents for optical disk-based voice recognition. The patent, which was awarded by the US Patent and Trademark Office in 1997, is described by Bareis as relating "to optical disks with speech recognition templates used to access information."
The suit specifically calls out a number of games from each of the companies as allegedly violating Bareis' patent. Ubisoft's Tom Clancy franchise is apparently a repeat offender, with games named including Rainbow Six: Lockdown, Rainbow Six 3, Rainbow Six Vegas, Ghost Recon 2, and EndWar, among others. The suit also named Sony's SOCOM franchise, EA's NASCAR series, and Disney Interactive Studios' Phonics Quest.
Bareis is seeking damages from all four companies in the form of royalties, negotiated at a reasonable rate, as well as interest on said royalties, attorney fees, and other relief as deemed by the court.
R34Vegeta Posted Nov 18, 2009 5:50 pm GMT "Read the patent and it does seem pretty valid, but it doesn't explain why they waited this long to actually file suit." The longer they wait, the more money they can extract. When the Wii reaches 100m units, it will get hit with another patent suit. The small opportunistic company owning the suit is waiting so they can maximize their profits. They get interest on royalties as well, so the longer they wait, the more interest. Getting paid just the royalties will net them less money than an infringement would because they will ask for extra damages.
It's a fair law suit, it's not asthough Ubisoft is going to use the unreal engine in a game without seeking complete licencse first. The same should go with any outsourced material a company uses that isn't part if their own development.
We should get a drinking game going on, a chug for each time a lawsuit happens in the video game industry, anybody up for this?
This is all getting way out of hand. Basically people can put as vague a patent on anything they want. The patent company are just as much at fault here than the people suing. Are there suppose to be rules and regulations on what can and cannot be patented? I put a patent on undergarments that cover (but are not limited to) genitalia. So now anyone wearing or producing boxers, undies, knickers, panties, thongs etc, before or after I have made said patent... you all owe me money. See you in court.
Man it seems every month or two there is a lawsuit being filed by an American company - Honesty I think it's their idea of wiggling its way out of a recession...(But then again I was nearly sued by Jeremy Soule back in 2007 because I said I didn't like his music in PREY but loved his music in everything else so...)...depths humans sink to.
Shut up! Shut up!! Shut up!!! I couldn't even read the whole article!! It seems Texas is becoming a breeding ground for court leeches!! At this point, I don't care if Sony, EA, UbiSoft, and Disney actually had spies or took the technology by gunpoint! I am sick of these damn lawsuits!!!
Optical Disc Voice Recognition, how is this different to Magnetic Disk Voice Recognition, or Solid State. We have had voice recognition technology for ages, sure it hasn't always been successful, but at the same time, how does implementing on a different storage medium make things different, it needs to load the program that accepts the input and begin intrepting the wave pattern of the voice sent. Would this process change base don the media it is on. And by naming so many people, they are either hoping for favourable results or out of court settlements. I can understand if there is a legitimate case for this, but I want to know HOW, do these people play these games and determine that it infringes their patent. Have they seen the code, or like raven28256 mentioned that it is so vague. Our patent is about how an optical disc can be used to store data that is then loaded and used to do wave form analysis on the incoming stream of audio. I hope they lose this one, really, it is just silly.
Yet another ridiculous lawsuit from a company just looking to profit of the success of another. Why didn't you guys freak out back when SOCOM came out? Or when Halo 2 was using voice chat? Instead, you wait until you think you can make the biggest steal. Morons.
Think of it as free advertising, not legal infringement. Anyway, this would just make more people sad if this was screwed over. I'm American, and I'm not proud to say that this can happen A LOT.
These companies have been using this for years. Now Bareis wants to sue, I guess they need the money.
Patent trolls strike again! This is just another example of patent trolls trademarking an extremely vague idea and waiting in the shadows for someone to make something vaguely similar and, once it is successful, the trolls jump from under their bridge screaming "AHA! LAWSUIT!" It is just another way for parasitic hacks to feed off the life-blood of people far more creative and successful than they are, and these cases highlight everything that is wrong with our patent system. Every time we have a patent troll case like this, I wonder why we haven't fixed the system so that these patent trolls can't trademark such an extremely vague, generic idea and wait over a decade for someone to strike gold with it so they can get some easy cash off a trademark they haven't even done anything with. Oh, and as to why these are all in Texas: Texas is pretty much a breeding ground for patent trolls. Texas courts are notoriously biased against non-American companies in cases like these. Notice how two of the companies mentioned are foreign. This means that the patent trolls are pretty much automatically guaranteed success in those two cases, no matter how paper-thin their argument is, because Texas courts tend to be highly xenophobic in these cases.
i was going to say, is it just me or do these all seem to come from Plano, TX??? This should be thrown out of court, I don't care if the patent was infringed, did this company lose any profit from the sell of video games? NO because the company has no intention of releasing it's own games to compete. Ridiculous and should be tossed out.
Of all the patent troll in the country, why does it always had to be from Texas? Also this is like the third (or fourth, I'm not sure) time Sony got sued this year, why in the h*** does everyone keep picking on them?
Yeah, if I went through the trouble of developing and then patenting something, I'd want my due as well. Big businesses know better than to steal, these ones just got caught. If RIAA is going to sue anyone they can prove stole music, it's not too much to expect the same on a much larger scale. Consequence time.
@ Kashmiro couldnt agree more. @ everyone yelling 'Patent Trolls' read Kashmiro's post. they cant be trolls if they are reasonable
Finally someone actually asking for what is reasonable... All they want is the lawyer paid for and the royalties. It the argument is real then I'd say that is a fair payment.
There should be a law against patent trolls that they can only sue up to something like an year. So in this case they should have sued in an years time of the first game.
patent trolls in the news again. just learned about these in my game tech degree. the company behind the patent only patented the mechanic to trap companies with it. then when a company big enough to sue uses it. they swoop in and put a patent infringement case against the company. defending against a patent infringement can cost upwards of 5-10 million, so a lot of the time these patent trolls offer a settlement fee (usually royalties or a 1 off payment to keep their mouth shut)
Even if this patent is no joke, it better explicitly outline how it is used. You can't just say that you have a patent for disk based voice recognition and expect everyone to pay you for it. These companies must be using your specific method.
@ Suicide-Panda There are various amounts of time patents can last, i believe the standard is 20 years though. I am not in favour of this patent, everyone uses it and a patent should be completely new and innovative, not just talking switched from over the phone to a disc. Oh well, anything for money, patents cost a lot to get so i suppose they would want to get money out of it.
Read the patent and it does seem pretty valid, but it doesn't explain why they waited this long to actually file suit.
This is kind of hard to believe. You'd think these major company's would wan't to avoid this kind of situation but here we are. We'll just have to wait and see how this plays out in court.
I would agree that if these people cared about their concept (as vague as it is) they would have nipped this a long time ago. I would venture to say that some of these patents are designed for scamming. I also think that accessing information with an object should not be granted a patent. I can gain access to information with countless other objects, I don't see what makes speech an exception.
Technology evolves at such a rapid pace that I bet if you made something up for your video game, it's probably hard to find a specific patent that you might be infringing on. I would check the patent offices for certain things, but I bet it's hard to find all the patents out there containing to your product so I find this a bit unfair. I can see if they stole this tech without paying, but this is something that seems like a logical way to use voice chat and the developers probably didn't even think they were infringing.
Maybe I'm being too picky, but "to access information" doesn't quite seem to fit. I mean, isn't voice chat for, oh, I dunno, communication? If they used voice commands to navigate menus or execute commands (which only one of the games [EndWar] does, to my knowlege), then I could see an infringement in the accessing of information, but to simply communicate with other players? Doesn't seem to fall under the blanket of information accessing. @archerus, where did you find the patent?
After reading the patent it seems like its a valid claim. Arguing about how broad their claim is, is a waste of time, because the patent was granted with a defined scope. @Bortson How do you know that the automakers didn't pay to use the technology described by that patent, or one of the patents that cite it?
@ andy_lyall ah that makes sense. i was under the impression that patents last 10 years max but yeah technology has advanced greatly from that time so i don't think this patent applies to these games and i doubt these companies just started now to use technology that's over 10 years old in their games i also wonder if it applies to DVDs and BDs. the patent seems to talk about CDs
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- Rainbow Six Vegas
- SOCOM: Confrontation
- Tom Clancy's EndWar
- Rainbow Six: Lockdown
- SOCOM II
- RS3: Black Arrow
- SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy SEALs
- SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3
- SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo
- SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs: Combined Assault
- Ghost Recon Jungle Storm
- SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs F
- SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs T
- SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs
- Tom Clancys RS 3
- NASCAR 07
- NASCAR 08
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2