UK-based corporation British Telecom is apparently suing Valve in the US state of Delaware over its claim that Valve violates multiple patents held by the telecom with respect to Steam and its various services. Those would be Steam Library, Steam Chat, Steam Messaging, and Steam Broadcasting. British Telecom alleges that over the last year, Valve has ignored its attempts to negotiate licensing for the tech supposedly based on its patents, which Valve has allegedly “continued to infringe willfully and wantonly.”
The filing cites four different patents — Gittins, Newton, Beddus, and Buckley — which appear to be incredibly broad patents for such basic concepts as
- “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”;
- “delivering structured messages comprised of information and data parts to an intended audience in a reliable and predictable manner”;
- “a communications system in which a user is provided with different communication mechanisms and each mechanism is associated with a call control protocol”; and
- “a multi-user display system and method for controlling a communal display that includes at least two independent workstations and an interface server for connection to a data network.”
As VG points out, nearly every modern mega-service, from YouTube to iTunes, would also be subject to these patents, though something tells me Google’s and Apple’s lawyers would have likewise dumped BT’s requests for money in the circular file.