Digg And Others Sued For Infringing Infamous Computer Solitaire Patent

from the aren't-patents-great? dept

The Patent Troll Tracker is back from holiday vacation and he's got quite a post listing out a bunch of interesting (i.e., depressing) lawsuits involving questionable patents and even more questionable patent holders. In one case, the Troll Tracker even manages to track down a bizarre set of circumstances making it look like an associate at a well known IP law firm spent millions of dollars scooping up a bunch of patents for himself.

However, perhaps the most interesting is the third case discussed by the Troll Tracker. It involves the somewhat infamous patents of Sheldon Goldberg, which got plenty of attention back in 2004 when he started claiming that computer solitaire was covered by his patents. The two key patents are for a network gaming system and a method for playing games on a network.

It appears that after years of threats about these patents, Goldberg has now actually started filing lawsuits -- and some of the targets are a bit surprising. The one that stood out was Digg, as you don't often see companies like Digg involved in patent infringement suits (and, as far as I can tell, the news that Digg was being sued for patent infringement hasn't been mentioned anywhere else). Others sued over those same patents include some of the "usual targets" such as Google, AOL and Yahoo. However, it also includes a variety of media properties both big and small -- including the NY Times, The Washington Post, CNET, Tribune Interactive and (another slightly odd one) eBaum's World. While the patents themselves seem quite questionable, it's even harder to understand how these sites could possibly be violating those patents. Either way, perhaps the fact that Digg is now on the receiving end of a silly patent infringement lawsuit, it'll get more of the Digg crowd even more interested in the massive problems with the patent system. Update: Since a few people asked, the story is on Digg itself now.

Filed Under: patents, solitaire
Companies: aol, cnet, digg, google, ign, ny times, yahoo, youtube


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  1. identicon
    Random Poster, 8 Jan 2008 @ 8:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: GFY

    Thankyou. I also went and checked and yes, I was wrong about the patent life.

    It still doesn't help though. Granted that when patents expire the invention goes into the public domain, but 20 years is a long time to go about cause havoc to other hardworking people.

    This guy is getting away as algorithms and architectures count as processes. At first people though patents cannot be allowed on software due to the fact that software doesn't exist in a material form.

    What software does is changes internal switches in the CPU, etc. But as algorithms are a series of steps and actions taken to an given state, it is possible to pass it off as a process as a process is also a set of steps and reactions based on a state.

    I looked at this guy's patent. Hopefully it was the right one, it was referencing black jack, not solitaire, and it's just a series of labeled boxes and arrows. I fail to see how this patent can hold as network gaming architecture has as much diversity as humanity itself.

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