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Any experts on how patents work? Because I think $OE is trying to pull a fast one on the MMO market.

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Comments

  • laseritlaserit Vancouver, BCPosts: 1,952Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Rhoklaw
    Originally posted by rnor6084

    Why is this peculiar? Why is it so bad they want to protect what is theirs?

     

    They are a business and therefore they have responsibilities to share holders and employees to make profit.

     

    Im guessing you think making a profit is evil. That is what you really have an issue with here.

     

    No, I'm not against a company making a profit, but I am against a company patenting ideas and concepts they probably have no intention of using, only to screw other companies out of using those ideas in their games. It's like me having a patent on red cars, even though I have no intention of making any red cars, but if someone else wants a red car, they have to pay me money to do so. This is what I'm worried about. I don't care if $OE is patenting ideas, but it depends on why they are patenting them that bothers me.

    You can't patent "red car's" what you can patent the procedure or process in which you make that "red car"

     

    You can not patent an idea. You can't patent "Pie in the Sky" . Graham Bell could not patent "The Telephone" he could only patent his design of "The Telephone" which most likely involved numerous patent's.

    "If you make an ass out of yourself, there will always be someone to ride you." - Bruce Lee

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by Rhoklaw
    I don't care if $OE is patenting ideas, but it depends on why they are patenting them that bothers me.

    When representing a company by symbols, people can naturally assume the gist of the thread is. It's like posting a thread with M$ in it at a *nix convention.

     

    So you do care, and upset, when every company is doing it.

     

    It's called self-preservation, because if they don't do it, THEY will be slammed with the same patent lawsuits.

     

    If the thread was more generic to point the finger at ALL game companies doing it, you made a point. But SOE isn't the fallguy in all this. EA, Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft and countless other publishers -- big and small -- are doing the same exact thing.

     

    It's the price in doing business in these "the laws haven't caught up with the internet" days (and you bet patent law was fought in early 19th century just as rabidly as today). Even the "message" isn't new, it's been around for almost 200 years, as different parties jockey for position of...control.

  • RhoklawRhoklaw Ft. Bliss, TXPosts: 3,498Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by Rhoklaw
    I don't care if $OE is patenting ideas, but it depends on why they are patenting them that bothers me.

    When representing a company by symbols, people can naturally assume the gist of the thread is. It's like posting a thread with M$ in it at a *nix convention.

     

    So you do care, and upset, when every company is doing it.

     

    It's called self-preservation, because if they don't do it, THEY will be slammed with the same patent lawsuits.

     

    If the thread was more generic to point the finger at ALL game companies doing it, you made a point. But SOE isn't the fallguy in all this. EA, Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft and countless other publishers -- big and small -- are doing the same exact thing.

     

    It's the price in doing business in these "the laws haven't caught up with the internet" days (and you bet patent law was fought in early 19th century just as rabidly as today). Even the "message" isn't new, it's been around for almost 200 years, as different parties jockey for position of...control.

    You may be correct, but aside from the one other patent by a company over 3D online worlds, this is the first I've seen a gaming company patenting commonly used mechanics, such as chronicler, bio engineering, beast mastery, buffs and so on. I'm sure there are some out there though but I haven't heard of any.

    image

  • Asm0deusAsm0deus BaatorPosts: 1,116Member Uncommon

     


    Originally posted by goboygo It is nearly impossible to patent something that already exists or is already in use in some form that you did not invent.  So good luck Sony!  They are mostly hoping they get a dim patent judge.  Technology companies have been able to pull this off before because of the confusion caused by technology patents. But even if they get the patent when it gets challenged by someone with money it would get tossed.  

     

    Good to know, I have always felt all this patent nonsense is just holding back our development on so many fronts. Just imagine if ancient artists or musicians would have patented their new painting methods or sounds!

     

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  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,788Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by Quizzical

    And so you see why software patents need to be banned entirely.  Trying to patent software that does something along the lines of such and such makes about as much sense as trying to patent novels with a storyline along the lines of such and such.

    It has to be, because it's the only protection they have against theft.

     

    If indie company A wants to cut operational costs and reverse engineers Company B's patent method to streamline animations, Company B's work is nullified. How do you think Company B will fight it's product from being pilfered? With a smile and waving a donations hat?

     

    If the companies won't play fair with themselves, in the spirit of cooperation, there needs to be protections. Or it's the early 19th century again, when patents didn't exist, and many a person died in utter poverty over it.

     

    Those patents protects the little guy as well, not just the mega corporations.

    You're wrong on several counts.  Let's start with the simple ones:

    1)  The anti-theft protections that games have are copyright and trademark, not patent.  Unless, of course, you want to believe that games that don't patent things don't have any protection against theft at all.

    2)  Patents did exist in the early 19th century.  The US Patent and Trademark Office has been issuing patents since 1790.

    More fundamentally, trying to reverse engineer someone else's code to make your code do the same things in exactly the same ways is usually an extraordinarily stupid thing to do.  The only exception that comes to mind is if you need your code to work seamlessly with someone else's code that company B's code also works with.  And even then, trying to implement everything in exactly the same way is probably still going to be stupid.

    The reason for this is that if you want to write a program that does X, it's faster and more effective to just write a program that does X than it is to try to reverse-engineer some other program that does X and try to mimic what it does.  You'll also understand what your own program does and why much better, which makes it easier to maintain and debug later.

    Trying to copy someone else's optimizations verbatim is usually a bad idea, too.  Which optimizations are available to you depends very strongly on what you need your game to do.  Copying optimizations that assume that a game doesn't need something that your game does need will break your game.  Meanwhile, the other game likely forwent optimizations that you ought to implement because it needed capabilities that you don't.  Even in a best case scenario, you're copying optimizations that made sense years earlier but may not still be the right way to do things today.

    Now, copying some other game's feature at a high level is very different from filling in all of the low-level details in exactly the same way.  The former isn't even patentable--and it would be disastrous if it were.  Imagine if one MMORPG were to have instanced dungeons, patent the idea, and then no other companies could do it.  Another game had quest hubs, patented the idea, and then no other companies could do it.  And so forth.

    But halfway copying high level ideas is how computer software advances.  If you want to make a game, you look at some other games out there, and see what you liked and what you didn't.  You implement some things similar to what you liked, and you avoid what you disliked.  And every step of the way, a good programmer or designer will say, hey, I think I can make this better by doing this instead of that.

  • DaveyColeDaveyCole New York, NYPosts: 85Member

    I don't know about the specifics of patents, but I can give you a little bit of information on things like trademarks. It's rather cutthroat and there is a lot of misunderstanding. I thought I would throw out some knowledge on the subject because it might give you some perspective on how things work. Hopefully the ideas translate into your topic of patents:

    1. My name or phrase got approved so I'm legally allowed to use it: Partially true. While there is a cursory check on the name or phrase prior to approval, many of these are approved and still face litigation. Two names that sound similar or phrases that have similar use of words or phrases can still be tried.

    2. I am in the right, so I will win the suit: You may, but many times larger companies will drag out cases which unfortunately forces smaller companies to fold. It's just the nature of the business, fair or not.

    3. My logo got approved so I am safe: Similar to the first instance, but slightly different. You are more likely to remain under the radar if you have a logo that is similar to another company, because names are searchable but many logos remain hidden. This is especially the case if the name doesn't logically match the logo. For example if you run a company called Bernie's Apples but have the logo of a blue bird, you are more likely to be checked by a person from Apple than a person from Twitter. There are many instances where a company has to change a logo long after they started using it, because they were uncovered. All it takes is for one person to notice, and report it to the other company.

    4. My company is non-profit so I won't be sued: It doesn't matter if you have altruistic intent. If you are using a logo, phrase, or name that is trademarked, you will receive a C&D (cease and desist).

    5. Somebody is using my trademark, the law is on my side: It's your own job to take the other person to court. If you don't have the money, don't start the fight.

    6. They've trademarked one word and I'm using it in a phrase: I've seen people lose cases like this. A single word is used in a phrase by two companies that make different products. What's even worse is they never end up being names that you'd think like "Coke" or "Pepsi"...it's always something small, ambiguous, and widely used. Unfortunately it doesn't matter. Sometimes it comes down to who has held the trademark the longest, or who has the most money. It often ends in some very stupid results that are "legally sound."

    7. I'm going to trademark everything and sit on them until I can sue people to become rich: I hear this all the time. First of all if you think like this you probably can't afford a good Trademark Attorney to begin with. Secondly trademarking without an identifiable product or service will not hold up in court regardless of when it was created. I've seen cases where a business was trying to get off the ground and they filed for trademarks and never went anywhere, tried to file suit against another established company that started using a similar mark, and lost.

    8. All you have to do is change one thing and you can use this logo, symbol, phrase, etc: This is another highly misunderstood concept that has spread like a wildfire. A company can sue you, and if you created the trademark with this in mind, it is very likely they will win against you. I've seen attorneys flip logos upside down, mirror image left to right, and even remove or alter colors to prove that their trademark could be misconstrued under various conditions of product placement, color blindness, or even dyslexia. It happens and it holds up. Those are the legitimate ones. Even something as small as a shape or a font type have launched litigation. In the end it usually ends up being a money game.

    9. I won't file for a trademark, but I'll just use the name to sell a few things "in house" and nobody will know: I've seen this one quite a bit. Especially with sports teams. Somebody makes a "Broncos Burger" and sells it on a street corner in Denver, or something similar. They see tons of other street vendors doing the same thing and think they're safe. One person twitters a picture of it with a hash tag, the Denver Broncos find out and it just goes on from there...you will never, ever, win a case like this.

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    You're wrong on several counts.  Let's start with the simple ones:

    1)  The anti-theft protections that games have are copyright and trademark, not patent.  Unless, of course, you want to believe that games that don't patent things don't have any protection against theft at all.

    2)  Patents did exist in the early 19th century.  The US Patent and Trademark Office has been issuing patents since 1790.

    I wasn't wrong. If you actually read what I posted, I already explained those details. Scroll back and read more carefully -- #30, for example.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,223Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical

    And so you see why software patents need to be banned entirely.  Trying to patent software that does something along the lines of such and such makes about as much sense as trying to patent novels with a storyline along the lines of such and such.  They're so vague that no one has the slightest clue what violates a patent and what doesn't.  And they do exactly nothing to encourage innovation and a lot to stifle it, which is entirely contrary to the point of patents.

    To be fair to SOE, they might be trying to get random patents for purely defensive reasons, so that if some other game company sues SOE for violating their patents, SOE can sue them back for patent infringement.  That doesn't work against patent trolls that produce nothing but just buy up patents so that they can sue people.  Even so, the mutually assured destruction of companies suing each other over vague patent violations that could yield an outcome anywhere from the patents being invalidated entirely to a judgment of tens of millions of dollars has led to an awful lot of cases where companies would sign a deal basically saying, you can use our patents and we can use your patents.

    If SOE does go out and start trying to sue indie developers into oblivion for violating vague patents, it would be--and should be--a huge PR debacle for them.  Then again, EA has shown that even if you frequently do a lot of outrageous and unjustifiable things, enough players will still buy your games for you to make money.

    Computer software does need legal protection to avoid copycats making it unprofitable to develop software.  But patents are the wrong way to go about that; the right way is copyright and trademark laws.  Trademarks are fairly narrow:  no one but SOE can call a game EverQuest, but you can call a game whatever you want so long as it isn't similar enough to EverQuest or Warcraft or Guild Wars or Final Fantasy or whatever as to lead customers to believe that it's part of a series that it isn't.

    The overwhelming majority of things that you could do with a game are permissible under trademark law; it's just a handful of blatant copying that is banned.  This is a good thing, as it prevents shady developers from making cheap, knock-off products that consumers pay for thinking is the "real" one.

    The other important protection for computer software is copyright.  Under copyright law, you can write your own source code to do something kind of similar to what EverQuest does.  You can create art assets that look kind of similar to EverQuest.  (Actually, let's say EverQuest Next, as the original looks rather dated--because it is.)  But you cannot use SOE's source code or art assets without their permission.

    Copyright sometimes gets a bad rap from DRM intended to protect it, but it's necessary.  If it cost SOE $1 million to implement something and you can steal it for free, then everyone will want to be the one to steal it for free and no one will implement it the first time.  If it cost SOE $1 million to implement something and it would cost you $1 million to implement something similar, there's no benefit to waiting; indeed, if you're the first to implement something cool, you get to be the one that people play while it's still fresh and novel.

    Yep and absolutely. The patent system truly is an abomination. Copyright of specific implementations is the way to protect code, not patents.

    Twitter paid IBM $36M last year for idiotic patents: http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/03/twitter-paid-36-million-over-ibm-patent-threat/

    From the article: "The three IBM patents asserted in November were: US Patent No. 6,957,224, "efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators," No. 7,072,849, "Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service," and No. 7,099,862, "programmatic discovery of common contacts."

    As an upvoted poster pointed out, one of those can be accomplished with a simple query and a where filter clause.

  • MMOExposedMMOExposed lalal land, DCPosts: 6,258Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical

    And so you see why software patents need to be banned entirely.  Trying to patent software that does something along the lines of such and such makes about as much sense as trying to patent novels with a storyline along the lines of such and such.  They're so vague that no one has the slightest clue what violates a patent and what doesn't.  And they do exactly nothing to encourage innovation and a lot to stifle it, which is entirely contrary to the point of patents.

    To be fair to SOE, they might be trying to get random patents for purely defensive reasons, so that if some other game company sues SOE for violating their patents, SOE can sue them back for patent infringement.  That doesn't work against patent trolls that produce nothing but just buy up patents so that they can sue people.  Even so, the mutually assured destruction of companies suing each other over vague patent violations that could yield an outcome anywhere from the patents being invalidated entirely to a judgment of tens of millions of dollars has led to an awful lot of cases where companies would sign a deal basically saying, you can use our patents and we can use your patents.

    If SOE does go out and start trying to sue indie developers into oblivion for violating vague patents, it would be--and should be--a huge PR debacle for them.  Then again, EA has shown that even if you frequently do a lot of outrageous and unjustifiable things, enough players will still buy your games for you to make money.

    Computer software does need legal protection to avoid copycats making it unprofitable to develop software.  But patents are the wrong way to go about that; the right way is copyright and trademark laws.  Trademarks are fairly narrow:  no one but SOE can call a game EverQuest, but you can call a game whatever you want so long as it isn't similar enough to EverQuest or Warcraft or Guild Wars or Final Fantasy or whatever as to lead customers to believe that it's part of a series that it isn't.

    The overwhelming majority of things that you could do with a game are permissible under trademark law; it's just a handful of blatant copying that is banned.  This is a good thing, as it prevents shady developers from making cheap, knock-off products that consumers pay for thinking is the "real" one.

    The other important protection for computer software is copyright.  Under copyright law, you can write your own source code to do something kind of similar to what EverQuest does.  You can create art assets that look kind of similar to EverQuest.  (Actually, let's say EverQuest Next, as the original looks rather dated--because it is.)  But you cannot use SOE's source code or art assets without their permission.

    Copyright sometimes gets a bad rap from DRM intended to protect it, but it's necessary.  If it cost SOE $1 million to implement something and you can steal it for free, then everyone will want to be the one to steal it for free and no one will implement it the first time.  If it cost SOE $1 million to implement something and it would cost you $1 million to implement something similar, there's no benefit to waiting; indeed, if you're the first to implement something cool, you get to be the one that people play while it's still fresh and novel.

    I agree.

     

    I am about to go patent the following code

    cout<<

     

     

    now I will be rich!!

    image

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