A Texas intellectual property firm has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Wizards of the Coast—but, intriguingly, not parent company Hasbro—alleging that Magic: The Gathering’s online version violates patents it holds on a video game you’ve probably never heard of.
Given that Magic: The Gathering Online is 10 years old, and patent infringement cases are filed in federal court in Texas, like, all the damn time, you’re right to suspect this is a garden-variety patent troll case, which have snagged companies as large as Nintendo before. Thanks to U.S. law, a lot of people own patents for the purpose of dragging money out of folks who make something similar, whether that’s through licensing or a lawsuit. Here it looks like Wildcat Intellectual Property Holdings of Dallas is going the lawsuit route.
Wildcat says that Wizards of the Coast infringes on at least seven aspects of the “Electronic Trading Card” patent it holds for the game “Unit Commander,” which it calls “the ultimate mercenary trading card game.” Wildcat is asking a judge for an injunction to shut downMagic: The Gathering Online and stop the alleged infringement.
If, as Dickens wrote, “the law is an ass,” then patent law is its hole.