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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.

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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 acting upon its trademarking of the word "candy."

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