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Riot Games: "US Patent System Is Broken"

Riot Games responds to concerns over the trademarks it has over League of Legends spectator mode.

With the recent troubles and trademark battles going on surrounding YouTube, The Banner Saga, and basically everything else involving money, Riot Games patenting some of the camera functions of its spectator mode attracted some negative attention.  The company behind League of Legends does not have a reputation for ill-treating its players, but it is hard to blame anyone for being concerned.  The reasons Riot has given for the patents support their reputation.

We have no interest in using any patents offensively. The US patent system is broken and needs reform. Many gaming companies -- including us -- are getting attacked by patent trolls.

The potential for a third-party to put together a streaming service or product meant to amplify the game's spectating capabilities for the sake of monetization is obvious.  It is one of the most-played video games in the world and also one of the most profitable, so it would be more a matter of when than if without a legal recourse to prevent such acts.

Riot Games has promised their IP can be used for fan-made projects as long as they are given away for free or only earn revenue from advertising.  Given their history of trying to take care of their fans, and the trademarks having been filed more than a year ago, I am optimistic League of Legends will be able to avoid the patent troll stigma.  The specific legal limits are posted on Riot's website here.

Published Feb. 7th 2014
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