SCWatch, a site devoted to the online game Star Chamber, posts this sweet little C&D letter:
Re: U.S. Patent Nos. 5,823,879; 6,183,366 and 6,264,560
Dear Sir or Madam:
We represent Mr. Sheldon Goldberg with respect to the above-identified patents, collectively referred to as "the Goldberg Patents." It has come to our attention that starchamber.net, an Internet-based service provided by Nayantara Studios, infringes the Goldberg Patents. In addition, Mr. Goldberg has a fourth U.S. patent that is about to issue, several continuation applications currently pending in the U.S. Patent Office, and several foreign patents and pending foreign patent applications. Copies of the three Goldberg Patents are enclosed for your review.
For example, claim 92 of the '560 Patent covers the playing of a game over a communication network, such as the Internet, where multiple instances of a game are transmitted over the Internet between multiple players and a gaming website and some of these instances may overlap in time. Also, users' rankings may be transmitted from the gaming website to the users, where the rankings are indicative of the users' proficiency in playing the game for which the users' ranks are being displayed, and where the rankings are updated.
Starchamber.net enables multiple users to play games over the Internet, where instances of the game are transmitted from the gaming site to the usres, and these instances may overlap in time. Additionally, starchamber.net provides users' rankings for other users to see, with the rankings as indications of the users' proficiency at the games, and the rankings are updated. This is just one example of how Nayantara Studios' services infringe the claims of the Goldberg Patents.
Additionally, many of the claims of the Goldberg Patents are not limited to games. For example, some claims of the Goldberg Patents are broadly directed to network-based persentations, i.e. changing advertising such as pop-up advertising or rotating banners, in connection with network services. Thus, in addition to starchamber.net many other aspects of the Internet-based services provided by Nayantara Studios, particularly those services employing advertising presentations via pop-ups, banners, etc., may be of interest.
I haven't take a hard look at the patents, but I did see that 5,823,879 is mostly about playing Blackjack over the computer. And Claim 92 of the '560 patent reads:
92. A method of playing a game on a communications network, comprising:
(1) receiving at a game playing node on the network, a contact by each of a plurality of users, via a corresponding node on the network for the user, for initiating a corresponding instance of the game between the game playing node and the user's corresponding node, and at least some of said instances overlap in time;
(2) transmitting game plays between said game playing node and a first of the users, for the corresponding instance of the game;
(3) transmitting from the game playing node to the corresponding node of the first user, the ranking of a second of the users, wherein said ranking is indicative of a proficiency of the second user in playing the game, and said ranking is updated to present a change in said ranking while the first user is playing the game.
I don't know about you folks, but I remember playing netowrk BBS games back in the 1980s from places like CompuServe and the Source that allowed ranking of players. Let's hope those people come forth to help bust these patents.