Home Gambling Network et al. v. Piche et al., CV-S-05-0610-KJD-LRL (D.Nev, filed May 16, 2005)

On May 14, 2012,
A federal judge in Nevada on May 14 reversed a magistrate judge’s recommendation to impose terminating sanctions against defendants in a patent infringement case and ordered the new magistrate judge in the case to conduct an evidentiary hearing based on evidence presented by the parties during the briefing on the defendants’ objection

It’s on the fringe as far as video game lawsuits go, but this new case filed on May 16, 2005, does allege patent infringement involving online video games… of the wagering type.

If the case caption didn’t already give it away, the patent (U.S. Pat. No. 5,800,268) is directed to a Method Of Participating In A Live Casino Game From A Remote Location. Fig. 1 of the ‘268 patent:

Representative claim 1 (also the shortest independent claim in the patent), recites:

1. A method for a player to remotely participating in a live casino game comprising:
(i) establishing a first information line between a player at an interface station located remotely from the casino for the transmission of live television signals and data signals to a player interface station located remote from the casino, said interface station including a player display to display a live television image of a live game to the player;
(ii) from said interface station, the player transmitting over said first information line to the casino account information related to an account maintained by the player at a third party financial institution;
(iii) the casino opening a second information line with the third party financial institution in response to receipt of said account information;
(iv) maintaining said second information line open with the first information line;
(v) the casino transmitting over the first information line data indicative that the player can make a bet;
(vi) the player from their interface station transmitting over the first information line to the casino bet information indicating a bet being made by the player on the live game;
(vii) in response to the transmitted bet, the casino over the second information line verifying the status of the player’s account, the casino accepting the bet if the player’s account has sufficient funds and otherwise denying the bet;
(viii) the casino transmitting data over the first information line data indicative that no more bets can be made, said data displayed at the display with the television signal;
(ix) the player over the first information line interacting with the casino to control the play of the game until an outcome is obtained;
(x) determining from the outcome whether the player’s bet is won or lost, said player viewing the live play of the game at the display to confirm the outcome;
(xi) in the event of interruption of said first information line, said casino completing the play of the game to determine the outcome pertaining to the player’s wager; and
(xii) the casino issuing instructions over the second information line to credit the player’s account if the player has won the bet in the amount of the bet and the player’s winnings and to debit the player’s account if the player’s bet is lost.

Home Gambling Network has named 18 defendants, each of which operate one or more online gambling web sites. In an interesting twist, it appears from the complaint that Home Gambling Network may have already provided a license to one or more of the defendants for certain games. However, in addition to alleging patent infringement, Home Gambling Network is attembling to nullify the license on the grounds that each of the defendants, by accepting a bet from the inventor of the ‘268 patent (who resides in Nevada), has allegedly committed a felony in the State of Nevada by accepting bets from within the State of Nevada while not being licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission. Home Gambling Network’s argument is that any license granted thus has been used for unlawful purposes and is therefore null and void.

We’ll add this case the watch list, due to the online gaming nature of the ‘268 patent. I’m betting the case settles…