A company called Gametek LLC has filed several lawsuits in the San Diego federal court alleging infringement on US Patent No. 7076445, which relates to virtual currency and purchasing virtual goods or content. The company has filed suit against several companies including Six Waves, Crowdstar, Rock You, Electronic Arts, and Funzio.
The lawsuit explains the patent as:
"The various claims of the ‘445 patent cover, inter alia, a method of managing a game comprising displaying a plurality of game objects, determining if the user has sufficient consideration to purchase a game object, presenting an offer to purchase the game object dependent upon parameters comprising the tracked activity of the user and the indication that the user has sufficient consideration, permitting the user to purchase the game object without interrupting the game, supplying the purchased game object to the user without interrupting the game, and incorporating the game object into the game."
The patent covers a pretty common practice in social and console games these days - making purchases of virtual items inside a game. The patent was applied for in 2000 and awarded in 2006, but last year it was assigned to a Maryland firm called Theados Corporation. That company later turned it over to a California shell company - Gametek LLC.
You can read the 16-page complaint filed on February 28 at Scribd.