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Author Topic: creative blackmailing id?  (Read 1224 times)
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Hans Grosse
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« on: 2004-07-28, 20:30 »

Copy/pasted directly from this Beyond3D thread.

Creative apparently has a patent on a shadowing technique that appears to have some similiarity with id Software's soon-to-be-available DOOM3's shadowing technique. Now, without attempting to raise any controversy on this matter, this reporter thinks that software patents in general are a Bad Thing. It is a little suspicious that Creative posted about their technique on their company's developer forum first. To have later filed a patent and then challenge id Software is in this reporter's opinion inexcusable. This is tantamount to blackmailing game developers -- inventing a technique, talking about it before filing a patent that hasn't been published and then telling a game developer that there is some infringement is just unethical behaviour.

[edit]It is wise to visit this page to see some history behind Creative's claim. But this does not change the basic opinion this reporter has about the gist of this matter. Please visit the comments on this news post.

This reporter emailed id Software's John Carmack, touching a little on his "reverse shadowing" technique (info here and here) and the state of patenting in general before asking him for some comments on this Creative "agreement" with id Software. Here's what he had to say :

Quote
The patent situation well and truly sucks.

    We were prepared to use a two-pass algorithm that gave equivalent results at a speed hit, but we negotiated the deal with Creative so that we were able to use the zfail method without having to actually pay any cash. It was tempting to take a stand and say that our products were never going to use any advanced Creative/3dlabs products because of their position on patenting gaming software algorithms, but that would only have hurt the users.

    John Carmack

It appears that id Software "backed down" by resolving this quickly in order not to hurt the gaming industry (including gamers). For a company that is tied so closely with gaming, Creative's actions is just plain wrong. It would be awful to think that this matter is setting a precedent for others to follow Creative's behaviour.
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