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Playsaurus targeted by "patent trolls" over Clicker Heroes virtual currency

"We absolutely refuse to negotiate license fees with patent holders who make bogus claims," says Playsaurus CEO

Developer Playsaurus is among a number of studio's to be targeted by "patent trolls" for an alleged violation of a patent pertaining to the sale of virtual currency.

The company suing Playsaurus is raster editing and conversion software firm GTX, not to be confused with technology licensing firm GTX Corp.

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Playsaurus CEO Thomas Wolfley said: "The patent trolls are probably aware of this and use it to their advantage."

In a blog on the developer's website, Wolfley said that Playsarsus was one of at least three companies facing similar lawsuits.

The patent in question - US Patent 7,177,838 - relates to the use of "electronic tokens" such as rubies in Playsaurus' Clicker Heroes franchise.

The developer has categorically denied any infringement, claiming instead that GTX are "patent trolls" trying to pressure Playsaurus into paying a $35,000 licensing fee.

"I believe their claims are completely meritless and their behaviour to be abusive and terribly unethical," said Wolfley. "As I am a major owner of Playsaurus I see this as a personal attack, and the cost in my own time and well-being has already been significant and draining. It is a shame that the United States legal system can't provide a quick and easy way for us to punish them for these actions.

"I believe it is unethical on our part to pay any negotiated amount, which serves to encourage the behavior of trolls with bogus claims. So, if pressed, we will take the matter to court and see it to the end. We have retained a law firm to assist and represent us if necessary.

"Playsaurus is a 100 per cent privately owned organisation, and we are not beholden to outside investors. We absolutely refuse to negotiate license fees with patent holders who make bogus claims."

Filed in 2000 and known otherwise as '838', the patent has a notorious history, having been used as leverage in 2009 against major companies such as Apple, Amazon, and Ebay.

Wolfley added: "I believe they are targeting smaller organizations now, because recent developments in patent law have made bogus patents like these much easier to fight, but only if you have enough resources and money to properly prepare the legal challenges."

In an effort to combat the lawsuit, Wolfley is encouraging any other companies facing similar charges to contact him to exchange information and collaborate.

GamesIndustry.biz has reached out to the law firm representing GTX and is awaiting a response.

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