The gaming world’s omnipotent protector (and sometimes offender), Lord Gaben, and his company Valve are being sued by one of the UK’s biggest telecommunications company, BT, over several patents.
The patents in question are in regards to Valve’s digital distribution platform, Steam. The exact patents are as follows:
- U.S. Patent No. 6,578,079: Communications Node for Providing Network Based Information Service a.k.a “Gittins” Patent
- U.S. Patent No. 6,334,142: Method For Automatic And Periodic Requests For Messages To An E-mail Server From The Client a.k.a “Newton” Patent
- U.S. Patent No. 6,694,375: Communications Network And Method Having Accessible Directory Of User Profile Data a.k.a “Beddus” Patent
- U.S. Patent No. 7,167,142: Multi-user Display System a.k.a “Buckley” Patent
BT and the legal team behind the company have discovered that each of the four patents above have been ‘borrowed’ by Valve when building Valve’s Steam Library, Steam Chat, Steam Messaging, Steam Broadcasting, and various other Steam amenities.
In the patent infringement complaint, BT states:
“Valve has derived and will continue to derive substantial value from these products and services which incorporate the patented technologies.
On multiple occasions, BT has notified Valve of its infringement of the PatentsIn-Suit, which incorporate patented technologies that include, inter alia, digital rights management, broadcasting, voice and chat, and messaging, and requested that Valve enter into discussions with BT to address it, e.g., through a licensing arrangement.
Nonetheless, Valve has failed to respond to BT’s correspondence, at all, and chosen instead to continue to infringe the Patents-in-Suit willfully and wantonly.”
They also bring up specific events as proof of BT wanting to settle on a licensing arrangement. On October the 8th, 2015, BT’s IP Chief Counselor sent Valve a letter listing the patents above, in hopes of getting their attention on that issue.
After getting nothing back from Valve, BT sent a flow-up letter on December 21st of that same year and then again on April 11 of this year.
Although this is unfortunate, situation like these are essentially the norm for Lord Gaben and his team; someone demands something from Valve, and they remain silent.
Thankfully they haven’t done this when it comes to video games, am I right, guys? Right? RIGHT!?