This one has me a little perplexed. TQP Development sued Big Fish Games for patent infringement of USP 5,412,730. The ‘730 patent appears to cover a technique for sending encrypted data across a communications link. While developed during the time of modems (patent was filed in 1992), the claims do not recite a modem, but rather refer a transmitter and receiver, generally. The other interesting thing here is that the patent would appear to expire on May 2, 2012, in just under a month, so I suspect there was a little bit of racing to the courthouse to get this case filed before it expires. Not sure what precipitated the particular choice of defendant, though. That is, why sue BFG? The patent is not directed to games, so the choice just seems odd to me. Oh well, to each their own. We will nonetheless track the case and see what happens. The case is TQP Development v. Big Fish Games, docket 2:12-cv-00194, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, filed April 5, 2012.
Both claims (yes, there are only two) of the ‘730 patent are reproduced below:
1. A method for transmitting data comprising a sequence of blocks in encrypted form over a communication link from a transmitter to a receiver comprising, in combination, the steps of:providing a seed value to both said transmitter and receiver,generating a first sequence of pseudo-random key values based on said seed value at said transmitter, each new key value in said sequence being produced at a time dependent upon a predetermined characteristic of the data being transmitted over said link,encrypting the data sent over said link at said transmitter in accordance with said first sequence,generating a second sequence of pseudo-random key values based on said seed value at said receiver, each new key value in said sequence being produced at a time dependent upon said predetermined characteristic of said data transmitted over said link such that said first and second sequences are identical to one another a new one of said key values in said first and said second sequences being produced each time a predetermined number of said blocks are transmitted over said link, anddecrypting the data sent over said link at said receiver in accordance with said second sequence.2. The method as set forth in claim 1 further including the step of altering said predetermined number of blocks each time said new key value in said first and said second sequences is produced.
Ok, now it makes more sense… they’re suing EVERYONE! Filed a half dozen or so lawsuits, and a game company just happens to be one of the targets. Given the subject matter of the patent, we’re not tracking this case any longer.