February 28, 2006

It was announced last week in a 10-Q filing that two video game patent lawsuits were recently settled by Atari Inc., the manufacturer of the 1980's Atari 2600 game console and current video games such as "Backyard Baseball®," "DRIV3R™," and "Enter the Matrix™." The first settlement of $300,000, resulting in a "irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide license to use, publish, sell, etc. products covered by the AVG patents," was in response to the suit filed in August, 2004, by American Video Graphics, L.P. (AVG) against Atari and several other software game companies. This settlement allows Atari to practice U.S. Patent No. 4,734,690 ("Method and apparatus for spherical panning"), teaching three-dimensional gaming technologies. A second settlement ($25,000) was reached between Atari and iEntertainment regarding U.S. Patent No. 6,042,477 ("Method of and system for minimizing the effects of time latency in multiplayer electronic games played on interconnected computers"), allowing Atari to practice this and other patents owned by iEntertainment. Several defendants were also included in that latter case, resulting in a cumulative settlement of $175,000.

Gamasutra Article: LINK
U.S. Patent No. 4,734,690: LINK
U.S. Patent No. 6,042,477: LINK
Atari's 10-Q (Filed 02/22/2006): LINK
Website for Atari (U.S.): LINK


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Mark Reichel
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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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