Parallel Networks, LLC v. Riot Games, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of Delaware
Case No.: 13-183 (RGA); filed on February 1, 2013.

This is a patent infringement case in which Parallel Network (“Plaintiff”) is suing Riot Games (“Defendant”) for direct infringement, inducing infringement, or contributing to an infringing use. The patents in question are United States Patent No: 7,188,145 (“the ‘145 patent”) and divisional U.S. Pat. No: 7,730,262 (“the ‘262 patent”). These patents were issued to Plaintiff on March 6, 2007, and June 1, 2010, respectively.

The patents are for a “method and system for dynamic distributed data caching”. Specifically, these patents are for software that allows for peer-to-peer data caching to enable more effective use of bandwidth as well increasing download speeds.  The software utilizes the “always-on” nature of computers and unused processor power to create a “cache community”. This allows users to access stored content without having to retrieve it from a potentially overly burdened origin server.

Plaintiff alleges that Riot Games is infringing upon its patent through its products, specifically the online game “League of Legends”. Plaintiff further alleges that the League of Legends download client utilizes the patents in question which causes Defendant’s customers to infringe upon Plaintiff’s patents.  In this way, Defendant is directly infringing upon Plaintiff’s patents as well as inducing and contributing to the infringement of said patents.

On March 28, 2013, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s inducement and contributory infringement claims. In an Opening Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss, Defendant alleges that Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged facts to show that there was intent on the part of Riot Games to infringe the patents in question. Defendant alleges that Plaintiff simply makes a recitation of the elements necessary for an infringement action rather than actually detailing how Defendant’s conduct infringed upon its patents.  Furthermore, Defendant alleges that it did not have pre-suit knowledge of the patents, and even if it did infringe upon the patents, it should not be open to any pre-suit damages.  On April 15, 2013, Plaintiff filed an Answering Brief in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. In its brief, Plaintiff cites case law which states that, “‘if a complaint sufficiently identifies . . . the patent at issue and the allegedly infringing conduct, a defendant’s receipt of the complaint and decision to continue its conduct despite the knowledge gleaned from the complaint’ sufficiently pleads a prospective claim of indirect infringement.” (Walker Digital, LLC v. Facebook, Inc., 852 F. Supp. 2d, 559, 565 (D. Del. 2012). Furthermore, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant’s conduct of making its website available to customers to download its product by using the patents in question sufficiently shows intent.

This case displays just how significant the method of delivery can become for video game publishers and developers, especially in light of the ever-increasing use of digital distribution for games.  Although both parties have filed briefs regarding the Motion to Dismiss, a hearing has yet to be held, and the case has a long way to go.We will update when more information becomes available.

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