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Video-based social network and chat service PalTalk has filed a new patent infringement lawsuit that could make massively multiplayer online (MMO) games like World of Warcraft and Free Realms far less lucrative for their parent companies.
Paltalk is suing *Sony*, Blizzard Entertainment, Turbine, Jagex and NCSoft for damages in “at least the tens of millions of dollars;” arguing that their MMOs are infringing on two patents it holds for real-time messaging during gameplay.
The suit, which was first reported by MassHighTech, comes just a few months after the company scored a win in a similar lawsuit against Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT). PalTalk alleged that P2P chat features in Halo games running on Xbox Live were violating its patents; Microsoft settled for an undisclosed amount, and paid to license the company’s technology (per CNET). The fact that Microsoft chose to pay up is likely what led PalTalk to move forward with its new suit.
N.Y.-based PalTalk purchased the patents referenced in the current suit in 2002, from now-defunct VoIP provider HearMe, Inc. It’s suing Blizzard (a division of *Activision*), Sony (NYSE: SNE), and the other companies in an East Texas district court known to be a hotbed for patent disputes — and it stands to gain significant revenues from ongoing licensing fees, if the companies decide to settle instead of letting the suit play out.
Activision (NSDQ: ATVI) and NCSoft are also currently being sued by Worlds.com, a virtual world tech firm; Worlds.com argues that both companies are infringing on its patent for a “scalable virtual world with thousands of users,” with their respective MMOs.