Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Not so Magic Touch

More lawsuit shenanigans.

Readers of this blog probably know by now that I'm a fan of Magic: The Gathering. I will admit that it's been a long time since I bought physical cards for the game, but I can say that my enjoyment of it hasn't wained much despite that. I'm still playing Duels '13, and I know a few people that play the more robust computer version Magic: The Gathering Online. Curiously enough though, the latter has apparently been the cause of some legal trouble for Wizards of the Coast, who are getting slapped with a lawsuit that claims that the game has infringed upon patents.

The company doing the suing, Wildcat Intellectual Property Holdings, is claiming that MTGO has violated an electronic trading card patent that they hold. Looking at the actual paperwork, it says:

"'Infringements by Wizards include, without limitation, making, using, selling, hosting, and/or providing access to within the United States, and/or importing into the United States, at least Wizards' 'Magic: The Gathering Online' game, infringing one or more claims of the '216 Patent,' the complaint states."
Getting to the actual point here, has anyone even heard of this game? No, seriously, I'm asking.

I've never heard of Unit Commander and looking around it really seems like I'm not even the only one. Add to this the fact that MTGO has been around for quite a while -- nearly ten years -- and you basically have what amounts to the good old American passtime: frivolous lawsuits!

It seems to me that if Wildcat is hoping for anything, it's that they'll get some money from Wizards to make them go away and stop being a nuisance. Now, to me this seems like quite a potential mistake, given that Wizards probably has the better legal team, given that people have actually heard of both them and their game before this whole thing started.

You'd think that if Wildcat had a problem with this that they would have spoken up a little earlier. Of course I can't say whether or not any potential court case will go one way or the other, but if I were a betting man, I certainly would be putting a lot on Wizards.

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