TableMAX (OTC: TBLX.PK) has filed suit against Shuffle Master (NASDAQ: SHFL) for Patent infringement.
The patents involved are:
U.S. Patent No. 5,688,174 covering a multiplayer interactive video gaming device. The diagram looks like a video game cabinet, only with multiple player inputs and bill acceptors, to simulate casino table games.
U.S. Patent No. 6,921,337 which refines the multiplayer device by adding an individual buffer to each player station.
U.S. Patent No. 7,201,661 which references the previous patent and describes a blackjack game with a central progressive jackpot for multiple machines and player stations.
Seems straight forward enough. TableMAX is losing money, they are trading over the counter, and they have resorted to suing the competition. But in the course of looking through those patents I saw this number referenced:
U.S. Patent No. 4,760,527 which describes a system for interactively playing poker with a plurality of players, issued back in 1988.
The system described seems a lot like what PokerTek (NASDAQ:PTEK) offers with its PokerPro tables. But the patent application specifically makes claims for Stud and Draw poker.
PokerTek does offer 7-card Stud on its PokerPro machines, however. And although the Web site for PokerTek lists 40 US patent applications, it does not list any granted patents.
Is PokerTek at risk for this kind of lawsuit from a company in trouble?
It’s been a good month for PokerTek stock otherwise, rebounding from a 52 week low of $0.57 to the current $1.05.