Law Street Media

Tencent America Sued for Infringement of E-Commerce Patent

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AML IP LLC filed suit against Tencent America LLC on May 7 seeking relief from the alleged infringement of its patent relating to methods and apparatuses for conducting electronic commerce. U.S. Patent No. 7,177,838 (the ‘838 patent) is the intellectual property at issue in the Southern District of New York lawsuit.

The complaint explained that the asserted patent was issued in 2007 and that AML is the owner by assignment. The defendant, Tencent, reportedly operates “micropayment products and services that facilitate purchases from a vendor at micropayment levels.” According to AML, Tencent’s corresponding product and service prices are listed in units of electronic tokens that infringe upon the ‘838 patent’s claims, literally or under the doctrine of equivalents.

The complaint contained a table with one column listing an ‘838 patent claim, and the second, an analysis of how Tencent infringes that claim. For example, one of the eight rows alleged that Tencent “performs and induces others to perform a method of conducting electronic commerce over the Internet using micropayments,” through an online multiple player game it offers called Ring of Elysium.

The game platform reportedly makes use of microtransactions that allow players to make in-game purchases for items like avatars and weapons. By conducting these e-commerce payments over the internet, AML asserted, Tencent is inducing infringement, contributorily infringing, and indirectly and directly infringing on the asserted patent. 

For the alleged harm, the plaintiff seeks a declaration of infringement, reasonable royalties, an order enjoining further infringement, and its attorneys’ fees and costs. AML is represented by Ramey & Schwaller LLP.

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