Playtech Wins Online Gambling Patent Case

Published Monday, July 20, 2009 -

Playtech and the Tote have been called into court for allegedly violating the patent owned by Cranway Ltd. The company claims that their patent for online gambling has been infringed upon by Playtech and the Tote. The invention relates to an interactive, real time, realistic computer gaming system using general purpose computers. The innovation deals with auditing and security ensuring a level playing field for players. It also prevents players from defeating the outcome of a game. The system enables players to participate in a larger number of games.

The Tote and Playtech deny any infringement on the patent also saying that the patent is invalid for three reasons. One the invention is not new, two, the invention is obvious, and three the invention is not in fact an invention. Cranway Ltd. has claimed that the playing of interactive games with a remote computer host that provides information about player status and relative feedback infringes on their patent. The court has ruled though that the invention be excluded from patentability as being for a business method and software as such. If the patent were valid, it would have been infringed by some of the defendants, but the original supplier of the software would not be liable for indirect infringement because it did not supply directly to the end-user. It was found that the patent is invalid. Other companies also brought to court on this intellectual property case by Cranway Ltd were Playtech Cyprus Ltd., Playtech Software Ltd., Techplay Marketing Ltd., PTVB Management Ltd., Tote Credit Ltd., Totesport NV., and Totesport Alderney Ltd.

Cranway Limited is an Isle of Man registered company and the proceedings were presented before the English High Court presided over by the Honourable Mr. Justice Lewison.

Cranway's expert for their claim was Mr Stacy Friedman, who is a casino game designer and inventor, computer software systems engineer, and gaming mathematician. Playtech's expert for their defence was Professor Ian Leslie, who is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. Arguments were extensive on both sides mostly over semantics of the definitions.

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