Category Archives: Litigation

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The Game Goes On: Sheppard Mullin Obtains Dismissal With Prejudice of Class Action Alleging Social Gaming Micro-transactions Constitute Illegal Gambling

Another lawsuit alleging illegal gambling in a social game has been dismissed.  Over the last year, social gaming mobile applications have come under attack from the Plaintiffs’ bar as gambling in disguise.  Plaintiffs’ attorneys theorize that in-app micro-transactions where consumers pay cash for virtual items (i.e., gold coins or gems) designed to speed up or … Continue Reading

Bitcoins and Liability in the Wake of Recent Silk Road Arrests

Last week’s arrests[1] of Robert Faiella, an alleged seller on online marketplace Silk Road, and Charlie Shrem, the CEO of the startup BitInstant, marked a recent round in a series of law enforcement actions against what the government characterizes as a “rise in criminal activity”[2] by people using the cryptographically-controlled digital currency, Bitcoin.[3]  The arrests of … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Fumbles The Ball In Videogame Likeness Cases

Edited by Ben Mulcahy, [1] Creating a new rule that gives videogames much more limited protection than other expressive works, the Ninth Circuit has ruled that realistically depicting college athletes in videogames showing them doing what they became famous for doing—in this case, playing football—is not sufficiently transformative to avoid a state law right of publicity … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Narrows Claim Construction Options in Game Controller Suit

In Thorner v. Sony Computer Entertainment America, LLC (Case No. 2011-1114, Feb. 1, 2012) (Moore*, Rader & Aiken (D. Or. sitting by designation)), the Federal Circuit reiterated the prohibition against importing limitations from the specification and reversed a district court construction depending from consistent uses of the disputed phrase in the specification.… Continue Reading

Sex, Violence, Videogames and the Supreme Court

In February 2009, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down California’s Violent Video Games Act banning the sale or rental of "violent video games" to minors. While the holding is squarely in line with substantial U.S. Supreme Court precedent requiring parents — not government censors — to decide what is appropriate content for children, the … Continue Reading

A New Game Plan

On Feb. 20, 2009 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a California law banning the sale or rental of “violent video games” to minors and requiring such games to be labeled “18” (the legal age for adults). While this decision may surprise some California lawmakers and parents, its holding is fully consistent with … Continue Reading

Gibson’s Patent Action Against Activision Hits Wrong Chord with Court in “Guitar Hero” Dispute: Summary Judgment Granted

Activision licensed the Gibson trademark and trade dress in November 2006 in connection with Guitar Hero’s "custom guitar controller peripheral." Activision paid a one-time fixed license fee to cover the term of the license and Gibson agreed to help promote the Guitar Hero product.… Continue Reading
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