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Apparently $OE has filed some peculiar patents over the years and if they get approved, could affect a lot of future MMO's in development. $OE has currently filed as far as I can tell, patents for...
1) Chronicler ( Quest / Story / Character History ).
2) Creature Creation System skill from SWG, oriented to Bio Engineer and Creature Handler professions, to include genetic engineering of pets through cross DNA splicing, hybrids, incubation, eggs, selling of said pets, ect.
3) Dynamic Buffing System skill from SWG, oriented to the Entertainer profession.
4) Dynamic Reverse Engineering System.
5) Random Name Generator.
Since I'm no expert on patents or how they work. I am wondering if patents like these could be more detrimental then beneficial to the MMO market. I remember a similar issue with some company claiming all 3D online games owe them licensing fees because they had a patent on that concept. Also, how does a patent work? Can previously designed games that were in development before a patent was approved be grandfathered in? Also, speaking specifically about patents on game mechanics for a game that no longer exists, is that even allowed or held up in court? SWG is dead, so shouldn't the patents for that game be denied as well?