Each week Mark Methenitis contributes Law of the Game on Joystiq, a column on legal issues as they relate to video games:
"Patents seem to be the intellectual property du jour for conflict in the video game world. After all, it was only a matter of time before the conflicts that have engulfed technology at large would spread to our little corner of the electronic world. However, patent law is not exactly a simple area of the law, and it's one that, like most of the other intellectual properties, is generally not well understood. Because of the complexity, someone mentioned it would be a good idea to give an overview of patent law and patent infringement. I should mention before I begin that I am not a patent attorney, meaning I haven't taken the patent bar, and so I wouldn't consider myself an expert on the subject. More importantly, this commentary applies to 'utility patents,' which is what most people mean when they simply say 'patent.'"