Valve’s legal team are presumably in for a busy period, as the Seattle-based company are named as Defendant in a new patent lawsuit from British Telecommunications (better known as BT). The company are already involved in at least two lawsuits pertaining to Counter-Strike: GO skin gambling.
BT’s lawsuit alleges that Valve infringes on four patents held by the British Telecommunications giant: the Gittins, Newton, Beddus, and Buckley patents. As is often the case in such disputes, the patents in question are incredibly broad in scope. Here’s the Gittins patent, for example, described by BT’s own legal team as follows:
“The Gittins Patent relates generally to providing users with content that originates from multiple subscription services and delivering it through a single portal where a customer may access content for which it has access rights. The user requests content directly from the portal instead of requesting content separately from each of the subscription services. The portal can obtain the items from the remote sources or, alternatively, from readily-accessible storage associated with the portal where the items were previously stored so that they are available on demand.”
I’m not an expert in reading technological terms parsed through legalese, but that sounds like large portions of the internet.
In fact, BT sued Google over infringement of the Gittins patent (and others), back in 2011. In that instance, BT claimed “the Android Market, Google Books and Google Music” all infringed on Gittins. Google counter-sued over four of its own patents in 2013, and accused BT of being ‘patent trolls’. BT’s case against Valve refers to the Google lawsuit directly, and (to the best of my interpretation) implies that dispute is still ongoing in some form.
If that’s indeed correct, we may not see a resolution to this case against Valve any time soon. BT refers to Valve’s patent infringement as “willful and deliberate” throughout, and is seeking substantial damages, payment of all legal costs, and triple royalties as a result.
Amusingly, BT seem to have run into the same problems as everybody else when attempting to get Valve to communicate with them. The case states: “Valve has known of the Gittins patent, known that Valve’s Steam infringes the Gittins Patent, failed to even respond to any of BT’s correspondence, and still continues to offer its Steam platform in an infringing manner in disregard of BT’s patent rights.”