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Gaikai sued over alleged streaming patent infringement
Gaikai sued over alleged streaming patent infringement
October 11, 2012 | By Mike Rose

October 11, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Delaware-based game streaming patent holder T5 Labs has filed a complaint against Gaikai, alleging that the latter has knowingly infringed on its streaming patent.

T5 says that it owns a patent called "Sharing a Graphical Processing Unit Between a Plurality of Programs", which allegedly describes a system similar to that which the Sony-owned Gaikai uses to stream video games.

The company claims that Gaikai infringes on this patent "by making, using, offering for sale, selling and/or practicing the inventions" covered by the patent, "at least by providing a system and methods of sharing a graphics processing unit between a plurality of programs."

T5 alleges that it gave Gaikai written notice of the infringement, and that Gaikai then knowingly continued to infringe on the patent.

"T5 has suffered and will continue to suffer damages in an amount to be proved at trial," reads the complaint. The company is looking to receive interest, costs and disbursements. Gamasutra has contacted Gaikai for a response.

This isn't the first time that T5 has tussled with the competition -- at the start of 2011, it said that it was considering legal action against OnLive, as it believed it was entitled to the patent rights on video gaming inventions covered by OnLive.

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Benjamin Quintero
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anyone else see this coming? "oh someone made money! I want money!"

I guess OnLive didn't get rich enough to make T5 rich so they waited... Just another way that patents are holding back innovation.

I don't understand how someone can lay claim to something and then sit on it, thinking that THIS is how we move forward... This is no different than Ford and their electric car patents or Creative Labs and their shadow patents. We spend more time working around patents than just doing what needs to be done to create a product.

Travis Terlinden
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I'm not sure they care about moving forward. They only care about patent trolling and filling their wallets with cash that other people make legitimately. Software patents are a joke. Then again, most patents seem to be a joke anymore.

Michael K
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"Sharing a Graphical Processing Unit Between a Plurality of Programs"
isn't that what every multitasking OS is doing?

Benjamin Quintero
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"details details, shut up and give me money!" - patent holder

Duong Nguyen
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You mean what every graphical program running on Windows does. Dozen of programs running on Windows can share the GPU. Heck browsers have OpenGL support now, so having more than 1 open browser window with OpenGL running is violating that patent.

Mark Ludlow
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I wonder what plurality means. If everyone is connecting using the same client, isn't that just multiple instances of the one program?

Mark Nelson
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My Patent - "Placing a symbol or object, adjacent to other symbols or objects, such that the aggregate MAY contain more value, meaning, size, mass, illumination, taste, smell or function, than the individual symbols or objects..."

Frank Gilson
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Lawsuit :

T5 Labs seems to be a practicing entity (meaning it did not simply buy up a patent so to sue those who may infringe it, but is actually using the technology in question).

Amanda Fitch
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Apple and Google spent more money on patent lawsuits last year than they did on innovating new products. It's really not their fault. Until the laws change, this is the only way for them to "stay in the game" and survive. And for small companies that innovate... well, they just get eaten alive if a bigger one wants something they have.

Welcome to the club, Gaikai.

Luis Guimaraes
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"Sharing a Graphical Processing Unit Between a Plurality of Programs" must be the most stupid patent ever. Come sue everybody that uses two displays in their computer, there'sa lot of damage being done to you...

Matt Cratty
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They have to either get rid of software patents or get competent people in the office that approves patents.

Alan Rimkeit
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Now this would have NOTHING to do with the fact the Sony, a multi-billion dollar company, just purchased them?

Also, death to all patent trolls.

Luke Shorts
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Just to be clear, and since every time such news pop up the same misunderstandings arise, the protection offered by a patent is not determined by its TITLE, it is determined by its CLAIMS. There are hundreds of patents with completely generic titles such as "television" or "robot", but they are virtually never about the same invention. In the case cited above, a click on the link leads you to what the lawsuit is actually about:

A method of sharing a graphics processing unit (GPU) between a plurality of programs, the method comprising the steps of:

a) outputting instructions by a first program of the plurality of programs to create a first set of instructions for generating a first frame;
b) outputting instructions by a second program of the plurality of programs to create a second set of instructions for generating a second frame;
c) providing control instructions to control how the GPU processes instructions of the first set of instructions and instructions of the second set of instructions;
d) processing at least part of the first set of instructions by the GPU to produce the first frame;
e) processing at least part of the second set of instructions by the GPU to produce the second frame;
f) signalling to an encoder when the GPU has completed rendering the first frame;
g) compressing at least part of the first frame by the encoder into a first compressed data signal and transmitting the first compressed data signal to a first remote processing device;
h) compressing at least part of the second frame by the encoder into a second compressed data signal and transmitting the second compressed data signal to a second remote processing device;
wherein the control instructions comprise instructions to cause the GPU to store a majority or all of the first frame in different GPU accessible memory locations than GPU accessible memory locations of the second frame.

So, while what they claim may still be arguably not new or not inventive, it's still far from being as generic as the title. If you know something published before Nov 16th 2011 which reads on the claims, you might as well forward it to Gaikai. Getting worked up for a title, though, is not really warranted and makes the system sound crazier than it already is.

Ruud van Gaal
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Sounds a bit like VNC-ing to a PC and opening 2 explorer windows.

Jonathan Murphy
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Patent trolls are making business in America crippling. The Wii U, 720, PS4 will get sued by those same trolls. The legal system needs to take a lesson from the internet. Don't feed the troll!

Nooh Ha
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I love the fact that just because you have not heard of them they must be patent trolls if they are trying to protect one of their patents.

Even a modicum of research into T5 (which clearly few have done) would show that this is a company that was set up to do cloud gaming via video streams over a decade ago, long before OnLive and Gaikai were founded. In other words this is a rival company not a patent acquisition and exploitation company. Whether their tech is any good or even remotely commercialisable I have no idea (they've been around long enough but do not seem to have done much business).

Alan Rimkeit
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What service do they run? Are they an active company? They have a web page but that means little. Do they actually offer a service? I took a look at their website and to me it looks like they do not. If they are a company that owns patents but does not sell a product nor a service then that is the very definition of "patent troll".

Also, software patents should be made illegal world wide.

Christian Rivers
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I hope i don't infringe at the urinal.