Patent trolls are common in the technology industry and it seems like "Terminal Reality and Infernal Technologies" is targeting Microsoft this time. You might remember the name from a complaint involving EA from 2015. While that case was settled around October 2017, it seems like the company has a new target. Developer Terminal Reality closed in 2013, and since then it seems like its affiliate Infernal Technologies has been suing game developers.
According to post by IGN, Terminal Reality and Infernal Technologies has accused Microsoft of "egregious and wilful" patent infringement of Patent 6,362,822 and Patent 7,061,488 relating to game lighting and shadows. The plaintiff claims that it developed the "Infernal Engine" which it then licensed to other studios. The company also says that games like Halo 5: Guardians, numerous Forza titles, Sea of Thieves, Dead Rising 4, and even PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds infringe upon its patents. A lot of these games aren't even developed by Microsoft, and use lighting or shadow technology from Capcom and Epic Games.
Over a decade ago, Microsoft tried to patent similar technology found in Patent 6,362,822 and Patent 7,061,488. Microsoft's patent was rejected in 2007 but now Terminal Reality and Infernal Technologies claims that the corporation is using its technology nonetheless. What's strange is that the lawsuit was filed in eastern Texas, which was once the heart of patent litigation. Since Microsoft is based in Washington, the case might not even progress further.
It's unclear how this case will be decided, but usually such actions end up being dismissed in court. However, there's also a chance of an out-of-court settlement. We'll keep you posted as soon as we have more information. From what we've read about Terminal Reality and Infernal Technologies' history, it seems like it's just another case of a patent troll trying to scare a larger company for a quick payout. However, a legitimate claim can't be ruled out until it's decided in court.
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