This case is still ongoing and has since been transferred from the Eastern District of Texas to the Northern District of California as of April 20, 2012. Digital Reg’s claims against AVG Technologies regarding U.S. Patent No. 6,389,541 have been dismissed with prejudice as have AVG’s counterclaims. Valve Corporation has also had all claims of infringement and counterclaims dismissed with prejudice as of May 23, 2013.
The most recent developments in the case regard discovery disputes between Digital Reg and Adobe as well as EA. Digital Reg is seeking royalties for the infringed patents, and requests EA’s financial information regarding their Origin platform for distributing online games. EA maintains that Origin is a free-to-use platform, and since EA’s computer games are not allegedly infringing, the financial information regarding Origin would have only marginal relevance.
The case has also been docketed for trial beginning on January 13, 2014, with jury selection to take place on January 6, 2014. We will continue to monitor this case and provide updates regarding any major developments.
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.