U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
Case No. 6:11-cv-00305, Filed June 14, 2011
This recently filed case coming out of the Eastern District of Texas shows that video game companies are not immune from lawsuits regarding conventional technologies. Digital Reg of Texas, a subsidiary of DRM Technologies LLC, describes itself as a “leading pioneer and innovator in the areas of securing digital content, secure delivery of digital content, and tracking and authorizing use of digital content.” It is suing a number of businesses, including gaming companies Electronic Arts Inc., UbiSoft Entertainment Inc., and Zynga Inc. for the alleged infringement of seven patents delivering electronic content in relation to payment methods, storing downloaded games onto computers, and delivering digital content across devices.
The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Numbers 6,389,541, issued in 2002 and titled “Regulating Access to Digital Content;” 6,751,670, issued in 2004 and titled “Tracking Electronic Component;” 7,127,515, issued in 2006 and titled “Delivering Electronic Content;” 7,272,655, issued in 2007 and titled “Delivering Electronic Content;” 7,421,741, issued in 2008 and titled “Securing Digital Content System and Method;” 7,562,150, issued in 2009 and titled “Delivering Electronic Content;” and 7,673,059, issued in 2010 and titled “Tracking Electronic Content.” These are the exact patents at issue in a similar suit filed by Digital Reg on April 21, 2011, against many of the same companies (see Digital Reg of Texas v. Adobe Systems et al, case no. 11-cv-00200). The April 21 suit alleges that the defendants sell products that include digital rights management features that restrict the use of the product in ways that infringe Digital Reg’s patents. UbiSoft’s Game Launcher, and EA’s Download Manager (a secure tool that lets users download video games purchased online directly onto a computer) were specifically cited in the April 21 complaint.
One of the same patents at issue in the current suit (the ’541 patent) was also at issue in a previous suit Digital Reg filed against a slew of technology giants in 2007. In that case, Microsoft, Apple, Sony, Playboy, Blockbuster and Macrovision all reached settlements with Digital Reg and the case was terminated in 2009.