Kalypso Media USA has confirmed with GamePolitics that Haemimont Games has received a letter from the law firm representing Treehouse Avatar Technologies. Haemimont Studios received a letter on July 1 related to its Prohibition-era mob-themed action strategy game Omerta - City of Gangsters and how "it could be" violating Treehouse's 858 patent (U.S Patent 8,180,858), "Methods for Presenting Data Over a Network Based Network User Choices and Collecting Real-time Data Related to Said Choices."
Haemimont is an independent game development studio headquartered in Bulgaria that works almost exclusively with Kalypso. The company is best known for creating historical and fantasy-based strategy games and simulations. It's catalog of titles includes Tropico 3, Tropico 4, Glory of the Roman Empire, Rising Kingdoms, Grand Ages: Rome, The Punic Wars, Imperivm: Great Battles of Rome, Celtic Kings: Rage of War, and Tzar: The Burden of the Crown (you can learn more about its games here).
Mario Kroll, Vice President of Kalypso Media USA confirmed with GamePolitics that the letter the studio received (which was sent to Kalypso's U.S. offices) was almost identical to the eight other letters sent out by law firm David, Littenberg, Krumholz, & Mentlik to various independent game developers on July 1.
"Kalypso Media USA has also received a similar letter on behalf of developer Haemimont, best known for the Tropico series," Mario Kroll tells us. "While not stating it directly, the letter intimates that the character customization approach in Haemimont's recently released Omerta - City of Gangsters, a Prohibition-era strategy game, may infringe on this trademark. The letter encourages an 'amicable conversation' and '...a license on favorable terms.' Personally speaking, it comes across as a blend of a "just in case there is a violation" legal letter - what's often called a fishing expedition - and a licensing sales pitch. We disagree that any patent was violated and are responding via our legal counsel."
You can learn more about Kalypso and its upcoming games at www.kalypsomedia.com.
Haemimont joins eight other studios who have received a letter from Treehouse including Iron Realms Entertainment, Unistellar Industries, GameSamba, Bad Pug Games, Mad Otter Games, Prairie Games, eGenesis, and HiTech Creations.
We will continue to follow this story as it develops. If you are a developer who has received a letter from Treehouse Avatar Technologies or any other firm claiming to hold a patent related to developing games, let us know by sending an email to james(at)theeca(dot)com.