In August 2004, American Video Graphics sued Atari and various other publishers for infringing US Patent No. 4,734,690 (a method for spherical panning). A similar lawsuit was also filed against console manufacturers.
Atari's latest financials reveal that the company paid $300,000 to settle the lawsuit. As part of the settlement, Atari received an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide license to use, publish, sell, etc. products covered by the patents.
This lawsuit and others (such as the Immersion lawsuit involving force feedback technology) are a good reminder that developers and publishers can't always include standard techniques (such as 3D panning and zooming) or technology (such as force feedback) in their games and consoles, even if everyone else in the industry is doing it.
Coverage at http://www.shorl.com/boprehygrufrery (Gamasutra)