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Patents Entertainment Games

All Encompassing Patents 283

SpicyMcHaggas writes "Looks like another bogus lawsuit over an incredibly broad patent on something that already exists. StarChamber, an online strategy and collectible card game seems to be one of the infringing factors, along with a player ranking system on the site. The patent supposedly covers any sort of ranking system that indicates a player's proficiency in said game. This sort of practice is what deters would-be great games from making it into the gaming world."
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All Encompassing Patents

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  • Proficiency? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <{akaimbatman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:03PM (#8088268) Homepage Journal
    Like arcade game high scores? Wouldn't that be prior art, or is there something more specific about this patent?

    • No, they added the magic phrase "on the Internet" which makes it new, innovative and lemony-fresh! "Goldberg patents" is right, what a bunch of Rubes!
    • Re:Proficiency? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by haystor ( 102186 )
      I was playing MegaWars III online in the early 80's on Compuserve. There were definite rankings there.

      Does anyone know if MegaWars still exists in any format?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      No, this guy is patenting ranking/scores on the internet from multiplayer games that are played on the internet.

      Remember, if you add on the internet to the end of any existing idea, it's suddenly a completely new idea!

      For instance . . . do your taxes -- ON THE INTERNET!
      read a book . . . ON THE INTERNET!
      send a letter . . . ON THE INTERNET!
  • subject (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tirel ( 692085 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:03PM (#8088271)
    Someone should patent patents and make this madness stop!
    • Someone should patent patents and make this madness stop!

      You are infringing on my patent! Recycling old jokes ON THE INTERNET...
      Now to read more /. and rake in my billions!!!



  • Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Popageorgio ( 723756 ) <popsnap@gmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:04PM (#8088277) Homepage
    When did patent holders forget that one cannot patent an "obvious or pre-existing" idea?
    • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by redcaboodle ( 622288 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:12PM (#8088368)
      When did patent holders forget that one cannot patent an "obvious or pre-existing" idea?
      They didn`t. But they know the Patent Office forgets it all too often.
      Or, to be precice. They know that the Patent Office has neither the manpower nor the machinepower to check all sources of prior art and therefor is liable to overlook the bleeding obvious.
      • Re:Obvious (Score:3, Insightful)

        by daedel ( 625142 )
        I kinda wonder if they have ever considered submitting these patent applications to a peer review board. It seems to me that if they could get a large number of people from various fields (ahem, slashdot) to look into the questionable patents, a lot of this could be avoided, and I know they would have no end to the list of volunteers.
  • Patent craziness... (Score:4, Informative)

    by BJZQ8 ( 644168 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:04PM (#8088281) Homepage Journal
    It all gets back to lawyers...who are bored. Perhaps if we gave them shovels and told them to make a hole, they would have less time to create frivolous lawsuits. Seriously, though, it might be time to expand the definitions of barratry, and start prosecuting people...although then you end up having lawsuits about lawsuits...
    • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:13PM (#8088374) Journal
      It all gets back to lawyers...who are bored.

      Usually people like to blame the lawyers, and there are ambulance-chasers who are worthy of blame. But the lawyer's job is to represent the client as aggressively as the law allows. If I were facing a legal situation, I would certainly expect no less from my lawyer. I remember an injury lawyer's TV ad from Boston: "Other lawyers call me an S.O.B., but I'm your S.O.B.".

      If a person wants to take advantage of a legal loophole, why blame the lawyer? Why not blame the law (for being bad), the legislators (for not fixing it) or the person (for unethically exploiting it)?
      • If a person wants to take advantage of a legal loophole, why blame the lawyer? Why not blame the law (for being bad), the legislators (for not fixing it) or the person (for unethically exploiting it)?

        Which is precisely the problem.

        No longer are we using the "spirit" of the law, we are arguing about the "letter" of the law.

        So if you are caught drinking and driving, you get a lawyer to argue some obscure point of law to get you off.

        But you WERE drinkng and driving, and therefore breaking the spirit of th
        • Damn it, if you break the law you SHOULD be held accountable!

          I'm disturbed by this line of reasoning, because down this path lies the tyrrany of the majority and incompetent policing.

          In the final analysis, the only person who knows whether you were drinking and driving is you. However, few people are honorable enough to admit to their mistakes and suffer the consequences.

          Most of the obscure points of law exist for a reason, and those reasons are usually to protect the rights of the accused. I think we
          • by BJZQ8 ( 644168 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:16PM (#8089195) Homepage Journal
            I can equally see the ability for this to be misused...but by allowing the fine-hair splitting of a law, we are basically subject to the tyranny of those best able to afford a high-priced lawyer. Justice is now given to those with the biggest checkbooks, not those most deserving of it. If your lawyer can split finer than mine, you win! The law is already nothing but a theater for show trials...unless you are broke, in which case it is a theater of injustice. Just watch people like Kenneth Lay get off virtually unfazed...while an ordinary street bum gets put in jail for 5 years for stealing some food.
      • I don't know that I particularly blame the lawyers, but I don't feel that it's wrong to say that lawyers are the ones who ultimately win with all this legal bullcrap.

        I mean even if it were possible for the average person to affordably, and conveniently resolve a frivilous lawsuit against them, someone still has to pay the lawyers for it. Not many lawyers are going to work for free, even if the cases are total bullshit.

    • Perhaps we should just shoot them.
  • by j0keralpha ( 713423 ) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:04PM (#8088282)
    " For example, claim 92 of the '560 Patent covers the playing of a game over a communication network, such as the Internet, where multiple instances of a game are transmitted over the Internet between multiple players and a gaming website and some of these instances may overlap in time. Also, users' rankings may be transmitted from the gaming website to the users, where the rankings are indicative of the users' proficiency in playing the game for which the users' ranks are being displayed, and where the rankings are updated. "

    If Im reading this right, they should be suing WoTC, Blizzard, and, well, everybody... Problem is this guy isnt dumb enough to go after somebody who can fight back... Wonder what the chances of getting the EFF or someone similair involved is...
  • Hmm... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mgcsinc ( 681597 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:05PM (#8088292)
    "This sort of practice is what deters would-be great games from making it into the gaming world."

    You make this claim as if this is something that has been looming over the gaming industry for years, but frankly, it's not, and chances are there is tons of prior art to boot. Let's all remember that the USPTO's job is to deal with paperwork, not to deal with prior art; that's what the courts are for.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:18PM (#8088435) Homepage Journal
      The USPTO does consider its job to include dealing with prior art. It just doesn't do a very good job of it.

      The courts are a crummy way to deal with prior art: its expensive, and judges aren't trained in technology. Patent examiners are. A patent examiner generally has a college degree in the field to which he (or she) is assigned.

      I don't see an easy solution. Properly investigating prior art takes a really long time. Dealing with the vast mass of paperwork applicants file takes a really long time. I can just see the lawyer for this applicant badgering the bejeezus out of this patent examiner. Or maybe he just rubber-stamped the top of the pile and went home.

      Patent examiners are like teachers: we expect them to do what should be incredibly valuable work, then pay them badly and overwork them. That's never an excuse for doing a bad job, but what doesn't excuse an individual should come as no surprise for the group.
      • What the patent office should do is allow anyone to file prior art for a patent, so everyone can help regulate our patent system.

        Also there should be some sort of loser pays system in which someone trying to enforce a patent and loses has to pay the other side's fees.

        Anyone have any other ideas, perhaps an in house appeals process that is cheaper then going to court? Increased fees for filing patents, and more staff for the patent office?
        • I'm not a fan of loser-pays systems, because the tend to discourage poor people from filing. They also encourage poor people to settle quickly.

          But I do like your idea for in-house appeals. If somebody sues me for patent infringement on a patent which is obvious or ridden with prior art, it would be nice to be able to file a document with USPTO to have the patent invalidated.

          Unfortunately, the time periods are a problem. The USPTO's wheels grind slowly: a patent often takes years to grant, and I don't expe
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Duke Nukem Forever, we really wanted to release it, but this patent on ranking systems got us in the shorts.

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Teppy ( 105859 ) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:37PM (#8088649) Homepage
      Filing a patent costs around $10,000 including fees, assuming you hire a decent lawyer. Defending a patent lawsuit starts at $100,000, and can run much higher, depending on how many expert witnesses you need to hire.

      It doesn't matter how much prior art there is - plan to spend $100k to prove you're right.

      This is why the patent system sucks.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dissy ( 172727 )
      > Let's all remember that the USPTO's job is to deal with paperwork, not to deal
      > with prior art; that's what the courts are for.

      Lets kindly not remember that, and I ask that you forget that incorrect bit of info as well.

      In the USPTO's Manual of Patent Examining Procedure [uspto.gov] it clearly states in this section [uspto.gov]:

      1.104 Nature of examination.

      (a) Examiner's action.

      (1) On taking up an application for examination or a patent in a reexamination proceeding, the examiner shall make a thorough study thereof an
  • by nsxdavid ( 254126 ) * <dw@nOSPAm.play.net> on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:05PM (#8088297) Homepage
    I have yet to read the patents themselves... just the supposed letter. But we were doing this with CyberStrike in the early 80's, AirWarrior and BattleTech Online even earlier than CS. If it has to be a web site in play, rather than an online service (such as GEnie), then I imagine AirWarrior would qualify as Prior Art, no? It was on the web before CS and did the whole ranking thing too. Need to go see the application date of the patent(s) now.

    I of course, must reserve judgement until I study the actual patents in question. It always hurts to do this, they are written to obfuscate. As a side note to the whole patent mess, I think plain english contract law concepts should be adopted for patent descriptions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:06PM (#8088303)
    Like slashdot karma?
  • Last post? (Score:5, Funny)

    by kinnell ( 607819 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:06PM (#8088305)
    The patent supposedly covers any sort of ranking system that indicates a player's proficiency in said game.

    Sounds like slashdot could be in the line of fire.

  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:06PM (#8088309) Homepage Journal
    So, if there is a patent on numerical ranking systems for games, I say we defrost Ted Williams and sue his .400-hitting ass .... err, head.
  • Hmmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmays ( 450770 ) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:07PM (#8088318)
    "This sort of practice is what deters would-be great games from making it into the gaming world."

    Actually, I don't think it does. Can someone name a game that hasn't been made due to broad patent that patents something pre-existing?
    • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by forkboy ( 8644 )
      Come on now, if it hasn't been made, how would we know it's name?
      • If I can't make a game because of a broad dumbass patent for a pre-existing idea ... don't you think I would fight it and therefore get it publicized ... say ... on Slashdot, maybe?
    • Can someone name a game that hasn't been made

      How precisely are we to name something that doesn't exist?

      Stop fucking with my head, bro.

      • Game companies don't just stop production due to a lame pantent that is broad and based on a pre-existing idea. They continue to make the game.

        How about this... Can someone name a game that had started to be produced and was stopped due to a broad patent based on a pre-existing idea?
  • by jbottz ( 708060 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:08PM (#8088332)
    In supposedly unrelated news, Slashdot has done away with the Karma system for ranking members of its online community.
  • How can you "patent" something so blindingly, mind-numbingly obvious as a rating.... A patent has to be 'non-obvious to an expert in the field' or words to that effect.

    I believe about 2000 years ago, the olympic athletes were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals......

    • I believe about 2000 years ago, the olympic athletes were awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals...

      You believe wrongly. The three medals are a modern invention, dating to the 1896 games. The original prizes were olive-branch garlands, and the very valuable respect of your countrymen (including such things as statues, poems composed in your honor, and basically everyone wanting to be your friend). Think of it as being like college sports.

      For the real skinny, read a little of Pausanias [tufts.edu],
      who wrote his "

  • Case's Ladder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nodwick ( 716348 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:10PM (#8088348)
    Wouldn't Case's Ladder [casesladder.com] be considered prior art? From the patent info:
    Inventors: Goldberg; Sheldon F. (3360 E. Serene, Henderson, NV 89014); Antwerp; John Van (Springdale, MD)
    Assignee: Goldberg; Sheldon F. (Henderson, NV)
    Appl. No.: 759895
    Filed: December 3, 1996
    I remember playing Red Alert using Case's Ladder back in mid-1996, which seems like a pretty clear case of a ranking system for a multiplayer game. Of course, if you leave the online-game context and move into the wider arena of general games/sports, ladders have been around long before that.
    • Re:Case's Ladder (Score:2, Informative)

      by AndroidCat ( 229562 )
      You did read the article, didn't you? That "prior art" is from the same people who are suing.
      We represent Mr. Sheldon Goldberg with respect to the above-identified patents, collectively referred to as "the Goldberg Patents." It has come to our attention that starchamber.net, an Internet-based service provided by Nayantara Studios, infringes the Goldberg Patents.
      I could find prior art for ranking players on games over communications networks from the mid-to-late seventies.
      • Umm... but Case is Jeremy Rusnak, so I don't see why his patent would suddenly be considered one of "the Goldberg Patents", if he even filed one.
      • You did read the article, didn't you? That "prior art" is from the same people who are suing.

        I did happen to RTFA. I think the problem is you're mistaking the patent info I quoted as a Case patent when it's actually the Goldberg one [uspto.gov].

        I put up the quote from the Goldberg Patents to show that their patent is dated December 1996, which was after Case had already implemented some prior art. I don't know if Case tried to patent his system (I suspect not; trying to patent a ladder system as "new" just beca

    • Case actually started the ladder sometime in 1994 I believe, I remember playing C&C on it back when I had a kali serial number in the 11,000 range. I'll have to try and ICQ Case and see if he's heard about this, because I checked and the ladder is still in operation over at igl.net and casesladder.com. However I think his system is copyrighted, not patented. The ladder as a company was incorporated in 1996, and I know it was operating quite awhile before that.

      If I find out any more info from Case I'll
  • Great News! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fleener ( 140714 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:11PM (#8088350)
    The Patent Office is hiring patent examiners [uspto.gov] in the Computer Science Field. We've seen the hard, comprehensive work of patent examiners profiled on Slashdot many times. Don't pass up this opportunity to join the U.S. Government Team. You too could be the subject of a future /. post!
    • Looks like the US patent office might be infringing on this patent:

      "For CTAP and ICTAP, well qualified means that the applicant is eligible, qualified, and clearly exceeds qualification requirements for the position as demonstrated by either: (1) Meeting selective and qualify ranking factor levels as specified by the agency; or (2).."

  • by nsxdavid ( 254126 ) * <dw@nOSPAm.play.net> on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:11PM (#8088357) Homepage
    Some may wonder why they would go after Starchamber (I guess some relatively obscure online game) rather than, say, the EverQuests of the world. But this is the basic strategy of patent sniping: Go after really small guys who cannot and will not fight. Get them to license. Even do a deal where you trade licenses so it's zero-cost. The reason: If you have people already licensing your IP, then you give credibility to your claim. Weight.

    Next step, move up the food chain. Keep trying to get more licenses so you are armored when it comes time to go after the big boys.

    Secondly, you don't want to go after someone with obvious prior art. :)

    My understanding is the patents are specific to casino games. Not sure why they went after Starchamber in particular.
  • Eklypz
    StarChamber Initiate
    Joined: Jan 16, 2004
    Posts: 2
    Posted: Sat Jan 24, 2004 8:48 pm
    Post subject:
    Post it to slashdot. Maybe some one there can help ya
    Back to top

    yeah! But seriously, This has got to be one of the stupidest patents ever issued. Why not go after Microsoft's Zone.com or AOL's game area? I know I used to play Harpoon Online and Air Warrior on AOL, (many years ago, mind you) and they had player rankings.
  • by The I Shing ( 700142 ) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:18PM (#8088434) Journal
    Back when the web was really taking off, and everyone was talking about how liberating it was, and how empowering it was for small companies and individuals, I had in the back of my mind that somehow someone would come along and just ruin it.

    I naturally assumed that it would be large corporations that would find a way to squeeze everything off the web that wasn't run by large corporations, but now I think that it's the patent trolls and the spammers that are going to slow the expansion and development of the web and other internet services to a crawl. No-one other than the big boys can do anything on the web without having to worry about someone popping up and saying, "Ah, hold it right there, I own the whole concept of what it is you're trying to do," and even the large corporations are being stung by this trend.

    Oh, and BTW, according to youmaybenext.com, PanIP has been sending threatening notices to more small businesses, despite (or because of) the fact that their (his) e-commerce patent is currently being re-examined.
  • by Sanity ( 1431 ) * on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:20PM (#8088455) Homepage Journal
    Over the next few months we in the EU have the opportunity to prevent the counter-productive dogma of software patents from inhibiting European software developer's ability to innovate and compete freely, but it won't be an easy fight and we need everyone that cares about this issue in the EU to contact their political representatives NOW!

    For more information please look here [ffii.org].

    I am doing my part [slashdot.org] - are you?

  • The Pit and AutoDuel (Score:3, Informative)

    by Shiftlock ( 587371 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:21PM (#8088476)
    What about The Pit and AutoDuel? I remember using the ol' 1200 baud modem to login and play these games... both of which had player rankings which were posted and transmitted from the central computer (website) to my personal computer.

    Definitely before the "Internet". What year was this patent registered? It mentions the "net" as an example of game data transmission.

    Never made it to the top of The Pit... but I'm not bitter (damn you Sheriff of Nottingham!!)
    • Seriously, BBS days have to be considered a network suitable for prior art. TradeWars anyone? Name your favorite door game, and it probably had a ranking system. The only thing might be this phrase, "where multiple instances of a game are transmitted". The game isn't transmitted, but only game data I assume. That, and BBS door games didn't display popup ads or other garbage.

      Does the game being "attacked" in this nonsense transmit the game over the network of just ingame data? They seem to not be displaying
    • An online game loosely modeled on the Star Trek universe. I was playing that back in '95 - '96 time frame. Player rankings were published on the server you were using and nationally.

      And I must inform all of you that you may be intruding on my patent for exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide across a thin, moist membrane. I'm gonna own all of you bitches!

  • Perfect Prior Art? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adroovius ( 734622 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:23PM (#8088491)
    I might know the perfect prior art to get this one stopped. The US Chess Federation (and international chess organizations too, I think) have kept rankings of players for decades. Newbies generally start out at 1000, and Grand Masters might get well over 2000. (I made it up to about the 1500 level). The rankings are based on the results of games between ranked players. Beating somebody improves your rating and losing to somebody lowers your rating - how much you increase or decrease your rating depends on the difference in ratings. Also, many rated games were performed over the ancient predecessor of the internet - the postal system.
    • Well that, and if the issue centers on electronic transmission, how long have ICC and chess-by-email been around?
    • by JavaNPerl ( 70318 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:06PM (#8089052)
      Agreed. The USCF method of ranking players is known as the ELO rating system [wikipedia.org] and was implemented by the USCF in 1960. In another example, which utilizes the internet, the Internet Chess Club [wikipedia.org] has also been ranking chess players since the late 80s.
  • by prgrmr ( 568806 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:25PM (#8088510) Journal
    From the artile:

    Additionally, many of the claims of the Goldberg Patents are not limited to games. For example, some claims of the Goldberg Patents are broadly directed to network-based persentations, i.e. changing advertising such as pop-up advertising or rotating banners, in connection with network services

    With that being the case, why didn't they go after the pop-up spammers first?

  • ...when the patent is ruled invalid.

    Another story of how the sky is falling. It's not. That stupid patent hasn't deterred any "would-be great games from making it into the gaming world."

    Stupid patents will happen. Some people on Slashdot currently get bent out of shape when they hear about a stupid patent, usually connecting it with the out of control lawyers. Well, guess what? It wasn't a lawyer who decided to apply for such a stupid patent. It was some jackass who thought they could capitalize on someth

    • A lawyer is like a gun: almost entirely harmless until you point it at someone.

    • But there IS a good reason for /. to have posted this story. Look at the massive pile of potential prior art references generated; this makes it VERY much easier for the victim to file a challenge with the USPTO with a good chance of success, and improves his chances if he decides to go to court. In fact, just a response letter to the (temporary?) patentholders citing this prior art and warning them that "if you sue, we'll fight, and these references demonstrate that you'll lose; get lost!" may now be a via
  • So can they sue the little guy so the have to settle which will give them more weight against a bigger player. I mean they have a slew to pick from, all the mmorpg's could be sued with this BS.

    Don't ask me, I do think its funny they chose them instead of Sony or Mythic.
  • by fireduck ( 197000 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:36PM (#8088638)
    all 3 patents deal with online advertising and pushing content to players of (mostly) online card / gambling games based on feedback from the players. It gets humorous when one reads the specific claim 92 of the patent cited in the letter and then reads down to claim 95 in the same patent [uspto.gov]:
    95. An apparatus for playing a game on a network, comprising:

    a display area for electronically displaying an instance of the game to a first user;
    an input area for allowing the first user to input a game play;
    a communications network connection for communicating, on a network, game related information, between: (a) one or more of said display and said input area, and (b) an addressable node on said network accessible by a network address available to said apparatus;
    wherein a plurality of users communicate with said addressable node for playing instances of the game; and
    wherein between at least a majority of game plays by the first user, there is a game play related network transmission via said communications connection; and
    a game speed of play control for allowing the first user to control the pace of the instance of the game.

    So, apparently he's patented all online capable gaming machines (and the networks) as well...
  • by stealth.c ( 724419 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @12:43PM (#8088725)
    If a lawyer's offense/defense can, in the slightest regard, be construed as dishonest or in bad faith, then the lawyer ought to be in danger of undergoing the fate the client would have in the case of a loss.

    Or something similar. My point is this: I think the premise of the lawyer being the aggressive lawmucking servant of the plaintiff/defendant must be discontinued. There ought to be VERY strong incentives in the rules of litigation for the lawyer to encourage honesty and justice. With REAL CONSEQUENCES. With the current system, we have no shortage of shysters who can get away with warping the truth because hey, they're just the attorney. If we fix that, a lot of frivolous lawsuits should disappear. Imagine every SCO lawyer jumping ship very early in the game.
    • If a lawyer's offense/defense can, in the slightest regard, be construed as dishonest or in bad faith, then the lawyer ought to be in danger of undergoing the fate the client would have in the case of a loss.

      Would this apply only to civil cases or criminal as well? Is defending an "obviously guilty" murderer grounds for being thrown in prison? Why should attorneys not have the right to use every accepted method of winning the case? There are rules and stipulations to follow, you know. If the judges are

    • The problem is this again will only hurt the little guy.

      A lawyer would then before acting on either side of the suit would want to understand the case, and prepare his defence if they rule the case was frivolous. This in turn would drive up the cost of legal action, which wouldn't bother some, but could prove even more damaging to others.

      People are settling even when they could win because they know the legal costs are enough to finish them, double legal costs and it will only get worse.
  • I think most people had the same understanding that I had of prior art.
    It is very hard to find good prior art.
    Just being the same, and doing the same thing isn't quite enough.
    It needs to solve the same problem, by doing the same thing, in the same way, and be the same.

    Things as silly and obvious as putting a CVT on a lawmower blade (to keep it at at the same speed) using off the shelf components could be considered a patentable idea, if it is done for a non obvious reason. (ie better mulching performance)
  • Patents in question (Score:2, Informative)

    by Provos ( 20410 )
    after just a quick look at the patents as they were granted, could someone look at them as well and verify this?

    Patent 5,823,879 patents a web-based internet-enabled method of playing Blackjack, as specifically stated in the patent.

    Patent 6,183,366 patents a method of "
    a service providing computational system for providing a first of the users with a requested corresponding instance of the informational service, wherein the instance includes a plurality of user interactions, via the network, with the serv
  • by Obiwan Kenobi ( 32807 ) <evan&misterorange,com> on Monday January 26, 2004 @01:55PM (#8089786) Homepage
    Considering I help run the poor site [scwatch.net] that got the slashdotting, I figured I'd chime in with some +1 Informative info on this "Star Chamber" game thingy.

    Firstly, it is a collectable card game. All cards are virtual with no real counterparts (ala Magic: The Gathering Online), and with no plans to.

    Resellers are provided to sell individual cards or "Event Tickets" which let you play in tournaments. However, to play the game online with other people, you don't have to pay anything at all: however, to play ranked games, and to play in tournaments, you must make a purchase from the official Star Chamber Card Store located here [starchamber.net]. Generally, $20 will get you on your way, but $30 will get you the best all-around set to start trading and creating effective decks to play ranked games with.

    Considering this game is so small, its reviews have been fantastic. It seems most of the current player set has either heard the collective praise from Gamespot's glowing review [gamespot.com] (8.8) or Tycho's Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] mentions.

    However, the good reviews still pour in from GameZone [gamezone.com] and Ferrago [ferrago.com].

    I heard about this game about a month ago. Since that time, I can't fathom how much this game has endeared itself to me. As soon as I saw the lack of a good community website, I began to build one [scwatch.net] with the help of another community member with the same idea. Then I built a non-profit card store to help further the game, using osCommerce [oscommerce.com], located at scfans.net [scfans.net], though there are other resellers on the books, such as Gameguys [gameguys.cc] and IBK [ibkonline.com], to be completely fair.

    The bottom line is, in terms of pure gameplay fun, excitement, and community involvement (the developer, Paul aka Merakon, is on almost every evening, and his support in getting SCWatch.net [scwatch.net] up and running has been stellar to say the least.

    If you dig a good strategy game, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  • by GreenCrackBaby ( 203293 ) on Monday January 26, 2004 @02:11PM (#8090017) Homepage
    My wife is a geneticist. Those in her field are facing a similar IP battle as those of us in the computer world. That's why she decided to actually do something about it, and 2 years ago enrolled in law school. She isn't a lawyer yet, but already she's working with institutions such as the Canadian Health Law Institute as a legal advisor for genetic patenting issues. Hell, she already is on a first name basis with many of our elected officials (who, by the way, are very open to advice in this area). Soon she'll be in a position to actually affect the way genetic patents will go in the future.

    But you want to know something? In her class of 120 law students, 3 come from a science background (none from comp sci). Most hold art or business degrees, and if you look at the website for most big law firms, you'll see that this is true for almost all of their IP lawyers as well. That's a pretty telling sign that there's a huge need for lawyers with a background that is based in science.

    When she's done school, I'm going to follow in her footsteps. I'll be going for a law degree, and with my comp sci background perhaps I, too, could make a difference when it comes to stopping this madness.

    Or did you expect this to just go away by itself?

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.