In a recently filed complaint (Actus Complaint.pdf), a patent holding company has sued over a dozen major companies for alleged patent infringement. The suit alleges infringement of 4 patents that relate to virtual currency or “electronic tokens”. The patents include United States Patent No. 7,328,189; 7,249,099; 7,177,838; and 7,177,838.
The defendants in the case include Discover Financial Svcs.; Electronic Arts, Inc.; Home Depot, Inc.; Lowe’s Companies, Inc.; McDonald’s Corp.; Moneygram Int’l, Inc.; News Corp.; Recreational Equipment, Inc.; Sears Holding Corp.; Simon Property Group; Starbucks Corp.; Target Corp.; The Sports Authority, Inc.; The TJX Companies, Inc.; The Gap, Inc.; Yum! Brands, Inc.; Zynga Game Network, Inc.; ACE Cash Express, Inc.; Brinker Int’l, Inc.; and Darden Restaurants, Inc.
Given the rapidly increasing use of virtual currency and alternative forms of micropayments, it is not surprising to see more patent litigation. But patent infringement is but one legal concern when using virtual currency. A whole host of legal issues impact virtual currency. Pillsbury’s Virtual Worlds and Video Game team has prepared an advisory on legal issues with virtual currency. Virtual Currency.pdf