BT accuses Valve of infringing four patents covering basic online tech

From ArsTechnica:

BT is taking legal action in the US against games company Valve for allegedly infringing on four of the UK telecoms giant’s patents.

A BT spokesperson told Ars: “BT can confirm that it has commenced legal proceedings against Valve Corporation by filing a claim with the US District Court of Delaware for patent infringement. The patents in question relate to online computer or video gaming platforms, digital distribution services, and personalised access to online services and content.”

Ars has contacted Valve for its comment on BT’s move, but has not yet received a response.

The complaint document, filed by British Telecommunications (BT), provides more background to the legal action. BT says that it notified Valve of the alleged infringements “on multiple occasions,” but that “Valve has failed to respond to BT’s correspondence.”

The complaint also details the four BT patents involved, which were mostly filed in 1998, and granted between 2001 and 2007. The patents all concern techniques used widely in the online world. Here they are in detail:

The Gittins Patent (US Patent No. 6,578,079):

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.

BT claims Valve infringes on this patent because “Steam locally stores third-party content, such as video games, and, through the Steam platform, makes them accessible to users who have access rights, precisely as claimed.”

The Newton Patent (US Patent No. 6,334,142):

relates generally to a method for delivering structured messages comprised of information …

Continue Reading