Gametek, LLC is seeking legal action against Facebook, Zynga, and other like companies with a lawuist that claims rights to in-game payments -- the process by which players can buy and sell virtual items within a game, reports paidContent.org.
U.S. Patent No. 7076445 is the one in question here, which claims to invent a payment system that lets users buy things "without interrupting the game." Gametek owns the virtual payment and is a shell company, but for now it's not possible to determine who is behind the shell. Gametek claims the makers of games like FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and Barn Buddy are infringing its technology.
If the defendants can show that such a payment system existed before 2000, when the patent application was filed, the patent owner will not have a case. As it happens, there are several games from the 1990s that may show just that.