July 12, 2013 | By Adi Kamdar

Independent Game Developers: The Latest Targets of a Bad Patent Troll

A growing number of independent game developers have received demand letters from Treehouse Avatar Technologies for allegedly violating patent 8,180,858, a "Method and system for presenting data over a network based on network user choices and collecting real-time data related to said choices." Essentially, this patent covers creating a character online, and having the game log how many times a particular character trait was chosen.

In other words, an unbelievably basic data analytics method was somehow approved to become a patent.

The patent troll, Treehouse, has surfaced before. Back in October 2012, the company sued Turbine, developer of Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online.

This is a textbook patent troll case. Treehouse owns a very broad software patent but doesn't, it seems, make or manufacture anything itself. They simply send demands around or, in some cases, sue alleged infringers. And developers—most recently, independent game developers—lose out by being subject to lawyer fees, licensing fees, litigation costs, or the fear of implementing what seems to be a very basic, obvious feature to their product.

When trolls attack, innovation is stifled. For more on everything EFF is doing to change this reality, visit our patent issue page.


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

América Latina: El cifrado como derecho, entrevista al Relator de Libertad de Expresión @EdisonLanza de la @CIDH. https://eff.org/r.j5wx

Jul 31 @ 6:41pm

Does your Android phone suffer from StageFright? Here's how you can protect yourself. https://eff.org/r.gxjb

Jul 31 @ 4:05pm

An appeals court ruled against apartheid victims who sued IBM & Ford. Here’s our analysis of the terrible opinion: https://eff.org/r.lprm

Jul 31 @ 12:49pm
JavaScript license information