D&D Online, LOTRO studio facing patent lawsuit

A web development company is suing Turbine Inc, the studio behind LOTRO and D&D Online, for a patent infringement involving its method of collecting user data.

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Turbine Inc, the studio behind Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online, is facing a patent infringement suit from Ontario-based web company Treehouse. The suit claims that Turbine's games infringe Treehouse's patent for collecting real-time data on user choices.

GamePolitics reports that the patent, awarded on May 15, 2012, is for the "method and system for presenting data over a network based on network user choices and collecting real-time data related to said choices." Treehouse claims that since the games tally the number of times users select certain character attributes, they've infringed upon the patent.

"But wait," you might be saying to yourself. "Both of those games have been around since long before May 15." Good catch, and welcome to the justice system. Sometimes lawsuits are pretty dumb.

Treehouse is seeking a permanent injunction, damages and attorney's fees. But as long as Turbine can show it was collecting data in this manner before May, it doesn't seem likely that Treehouse will get its wishes granted.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    October 12, 2012 12:30 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, D&D Online, LOTRO studio facing patent lawsuit.

    A web development company is suing Turbine Inc, the studio behind LOTRO and D&D Online, for a patent infringement involving its method of collecting user data.

    • reply
      October 12, 2012 1:20 PM

      Once again, the current state of our patent system is terrifying. It's already hindering American (US and Canada here) innovation and will only get worse.

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        October 12, 2012 2:45 PM

        I agree patent system needs reforming big time. They need to create separate rules for physical and non-physical goods and services. They need to raise the scrutiny for being able to obtain a software patent and possibly shorten the term length. It couldn't hurt to have a use or lose clause to prevent patent trolls. Probably won't happen until the whole industry gets tired of trying to walk on eggshells.

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          October 12, 2012 3:26 PM

          I respectfully disagree - They need to revise the system in a way that it can be used in the future aswell, looking at 3d printing. The system needs to become modular and adaptable to new technologies, able to move with the times. People judging new patents need to take their time and do the proper research - They need to have SOME knowledge on the field the patent is requested in, they CANNOT be completely uneducated workers just doing a 9 to 5 job.

          As for programs and IT related stuff, only /specific code/ should be in a patent. Broad, generalized statements of processes and techniques should not be allowed. This heavily encourages new companies to find better and more efficient ways of doing the same thing, promoting not just innovation to find new ways of doing things but to do current things better!

          If code is published as open source at any point with any of the GPL licences it CANNOT be patented, which i believe is currently not the case. I'm still thinking about whether it would be better to allow patents for 'better' code or to force code that performs the same function to be open source aswell, and how it would work the other way around. Also, code similarities where there's differences of only a few characters would have to be judged. Patenting any IT tech is a hellish process in the first place, abolishing patents alltogether may just be the best idea, instead going for the copyright system Stallman proposed, where proprietary code/text (anything that can be copied infinitely) can only be copyrighted for 5-10 years, after which is becomes public domain.

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            October 13, 2012 9:39 AM

            I definitely agree with you about creating a modified system for dealing with digital goods. It seems to me that trying to enforce digital IP law using a system that was designed to protect the invention of physical goods is problematic at best... and perhaps a dampener to innovation.

            Do we think it would be helpful if the patents should were dealt or processed--don't know the term--with by people who have some amount of expertise in the area?

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            October 14, 2012 2:08 AM

            agree with the points ChromeBallz has put forward here..

            way to go mate !

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      October 12, 2012 2:46 PM

      You've got to be goddamn kidding me.

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      October 12, 2012 2:56 PM

      LOL horseshit.

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      October 13, 2012 11:15 AM

      I won't be recommending Treehouse to people any more simply because of this. Ridiculous. A system built on greed and nothing more.