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U.S. Patent No. 8,678,928: System and method to deliver video games
Issued Mar. 25, 2014, to AT&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.


Summary:

The ‘928 patent covers set-top boxes that rely on user logins to access previous game information. The set-top box connects to a server through the internet allowing a user to retrieve information such as previous save points and information about previous play throughs. This information is then shared with other users of set-top boxes connected to the same server, allowing other users to access the save point and information from the first player, and giving users the option to join each others’ games.


Abstract:

The present disclosure is directed to a system and method to deliver video games. The method includes receiving a request for a game from a set-top box device. The method also includes determining whether at least one user identity is associated with the set-top box device. The method also includes retrieving previous game information associated with the at least one user identity. The method can also include providing the previous game information to the set-top box device and allowing at least one user to continue a previously executed game in response to a user selection at least partially based on the previous game information.


Illustrative Claim:

1. A method comprising:
receiving, by a game server via an internet protocol television network, a request from a first set-top box device coupled to the internet protocol television network; in response to receiving the request, accessing, by the game server, user account data associated with an internet protocol address of the first set-top box device, wherein the user account data is associated with a user account at a service provider of the internet protocol television network; and when the user account is associated with a user identity created at the first set-top box device, wherein the user identity is associated with a user:
retrieving, by the game server, previous game information associated with the user identity, wherein the previous game information includes a plurality of continuation points of a game, wherein each of the plurality of continuation points is associated with a particular previous execution of the game, and wherein each of the plurality of continuation points is associated with the user identity and with a plurality of additional players; providing, by the game server, the previous game information to the first set-top box device via the internet protocol television network; receiving, by the game server, information from the first set-top box device indicating selection by the user at the first set-top box device of a particular continuation point of the plurality of continuation points;
in response to receiving the information, sending, by the game server, a prompt to a plurality of second set-top box devices, each second set-top box device associated with a particular additional player of the plurality of additional players, wherein the prompt includes a selectable option to continue the game with the user based on the particular continuation point; and in response to receiving data indicating selection of the selectable option in the prompt at at least one of the plurality of second set-top box devices, enabling, by the game server, a first execution of the game between the user and one or more of the plurality of additional players, wherein the first execution is a continuation of the game at least partially based on the particular continuation point.

I don't normally post job openings, but this one looked cool. The Smithsonian Institution is looking for someone that researches, negotiates, obtains, and documents licenses from copyright holders to use images of NPG collection objects in exhibitions, programs, and publications, as well as public awareness and fund raising efforts. S/he also reviews internal and external requests for permission to reproduce NPG collection object images. S/he contributes significantly to the creation, management and distribution of the NPG’s digital image resources. As the NPG transitions toward an open access policy with regard to its collections, the Image Rights Specialist will help to implement this enhanced access and service to the public.

Duties include:
  • Researches copyright restrictions and coordinates rights documentation and permissions clearance for museum collections; locates rights holders and negotiates usage and licensing agreements; provides guidance to staff regarding restrictions and copyright.
  • Monitors evolving opinions and policies regarding copyright; liaises with SI offices regarding the Institution’s right’s policies; assists in developing a code of best practices for the museum.
  • Coordinates the museum’s “fee and free” image dissemination policy; distributes images to a wide variety of requestors via digital hosting and transfer protocols.
  • Prepares and uploads high-resolution images to the Digital Asset Management System (DAMS); ensures appropriate metadata is embedded and established naming conventions are applied; digitizes legacy files as needed.
Experience or advance degree (e.g., a JD) required.

Applications due by February 22, 2016.

More info here.
U.S. Patent 8,535,151: Multimedia-based video game distribution
Issued Sep. 17, 2013, to AT&T Intellectual Property I, L.P.



Summary:

The ‘151 patent describes a system for selecting games from a content provider. A user selects a game from the first channel. The TV then displays an encrypted channel which contains data about the video game. The encrypted channel is accessed through use of a decryption key associated with the identity of the device used to access the channels. Once the game is accessed, save game information is stored locally, while the majority of data is still accessed through an encrypted channel.


Abstract:

A method includes receiving a multimedia data stream at a device and sending data of a first channel of the multimedia data stream to a display device to generate a presentation of available video games. The method includes receiving user input selecting a first video game of the available video games and sending an identification of the device and a channel indicator corresponding to an encrypted second channel having video game data associated with the first videogame to a content provider. The method includes receiving a decryption key for the encrypted second channel in response to verification of the identification of the device. The method also includes decrypting the encrypted second channel, beginning storage of the video game data in response to detecting a starting byte of the video game data, and ending storage of the video game data when the starting byte is redetected.


Illustrative Claim:

1. A method comprising:
receiving a multimedia data stream from a content provider at processor of a device, wherein the multimedia data stream comprises a first channel having video content representing a first list of available video games and corresponding channel identifiers and an encrypted second channel having video game data associated with a first video game of the first list;
sending, via the processor, data of the first channel to a display device coupled to the device to generate a presentation of the available video games;
receiving user input selecting the first video game from the presentation at the processor;
sending, via the processor, an identification of the device and a channel indicator corresponding to the encrypted second channel to the content provider in response to the user input;
receiving, at the processor, a decryption key for the encrypted second channel in response to verification of the identification of the device;
decrypting the encrypted second channel with the processor;
beginning storage of the video game data decoded from the encrypted second channel to a video game storage unit in response to detecting a starting byte of the video game data; and
ending storage of the video game data decoded from the encrypted second channel in response to re-detecting the starting byte.

U.S. Patent No. 8,558,797: Video game processing apparatus and video game processing program
Issued Oct. 15, 2013, to Kabushiki Kaisha Square Enix




Summary:

The ‘797 patent describes a touch screen input for use in primarily rpg games, posited a solution to traditional touch screens, which block some portion of the field of play when in use. The device includes a display in addition to a plurality of touch panels, each of which is able to control specific aspects of gameplay.


Abstract:

A video game processing apparatus for controlling progress of a video game by displaying an object on a display screen of a display device is provided. The videogame processing apparatus includes a plurality of touch panels respectively provided on a plurality of surfaces of all of surfaces on a housing of the videogame processing apparatus. The video game processing apparatus receives a touch operation for any one of the plurality of touch panels, and determines which surface of the housing contains the touch panel for which the touch operation is received. The video game processing apparatus carries out a predetermined representation against the object displayed on the display screen from a side of the determined surface. The predetermined representation includes a representation indicating an attack against the object from the side of the determined surface.


Illustrative Claim:

1. A video game processing apparatus for controlling progress of a video game by displaying an object on a display screen of a display device, the video gameprocessing apparatus comprising:
a plurality of touch panels provided on a plurality of surfaces of a housing of the video game processing apparatus;
a touch operation receiver for receiving a touch operation for each of the plurality of touch panels;
a touch surface determiner for determining which surface of the plurality of surfaces of the housing contains a touch panel of the plurality of touch panels for which the touch operation receiver receives the touch operation; and
a representation executor for carrying out a predetermined representation against the object displayed on the display screen from a side of the surface determined by the touch surface determiner to contain the touch panel that receives the touch operation,
wherein each of the plurality of touch panels is configured to receive a plurality of different touch operations, and
the representation executor is configured to carry out a plurality of predetermined representations against the object in accordance with the plurality of different touch operations.

Harmonix Music Systems, Inc. and Mad Catz, Inc. v. AI Automation LLC
District of Massachusetts, Case No. 15-CV-14138
Filed December 14, 2015

and
AI Automation LLC v. Harmonix Music Systems, Inc., Mad Catz, Inc., and GameStop Corp.
Eastern District of Texas, Case No. 2:15-cv-2109
Filed December 23, 2015

Patent owner AIA (not to be confused with the America Invents Act) accuses Harmonix et al. of infringing U.S. Patent No. 6,388,181 (“Computer Graphic Animation, Live Video Interactive Method for Playing Keyboard Music”) with the most recent game in the Rock Band franchise, Rock Band 4.
The ‘181 Patent concerns software for teaching a user to play the piano without the need for sheet music. Exemplary claim 26 recites:
A method for displaying a musical score to a user of a musical instrument having a plurality of keys comprising the steps of:
graphically depicting an object corresponding to a note to be played, the graphical position including a position relative to the key to be actuated, the graphical depiction of the note including a depiction of the method of attack of the play of the note, and
a temporal dimension indicating both the time for actuation of the note and the duration of the activation of the note.



AIA acquired the ‘181 Patent in January 2014, and this is the third round of lawsuits related to the ‘181 Patent since the acquisition.  AIA sued Harmonix in March 2014, alleging infringement of the ‘181 Patent by Rock Band 3 and the controller accessories to the game.  Harmonix settled that case for a confidential sum in June 2014.  AIA also sued Activision Blizzard and Best Buy in November 2014, alleging that several games in the Guitar Hero franchise infringed the patent; that case confidentially settled in January 2015.
AIA allegedly began threatening litigation in regards to Rock Band 4 in October 2015 and demanded that Harmonix license the ‘181 Patent. Harmonix responded by filing the first present case, seeking declaratory judgment of patent noninfringement. AIA immediately filed the second present case, accusing Harmonix of willful infringement with regards to Rock Band 4.


We will continue to monitor this case and report any interesting developments.
Thanks to Daniel Douglas for preparation of this case note.
U.S. Patent No. 8,491,365: Sports video game with enhanced control features
Issued Jul. 23, 2013, to Nintendo Co., Ltd.




Summary:

The ‘365 patent applies to sports video games with battle game aspects. The described game may deal damage instead of awarding points, allowing rounds of play to last longer. An in game character who has taken too much damage or lost too much health may be removed from play or die in the game. The player may use power-ups or different moves to increase the damage dealt by a particular play. The patent focuses on the integration of competitive battle game qualities into traditional sports games.


Abstract:

A battle volleyball or other sports game having both sports and battle game aspects is played between opposing teams. A game object, having at least one associated characteristic, is used in the game. An associated characteristic of the game object is altered based on properly timed player input, the input being timed to coincide with one or more action indicators displayed along a game object movement path. The game object may also negatively affect a health or other game character related parameter of a game character towards which the game object is directed.


Illustrative Claim:

1. A method of playing a battle video game providing a video game play graphical user interface in accordance with instructions executed by at least one processor, the processor providing images for display and changing the images in response to user input, the method comprising:
using the at least one processor, modeling at least one ball;
using the at least one processor, and initiated based on input from a first user, generating
animation for display that shows the ball flying along a trajectory;
using the at least one processor, displaying at least one action indicator along the trajectory of said ball the action indicator having features;
using the at least one processor, accepting further input from the first user and determining timing of the further input relative to when the ball has correspondence with features of the action indicator; and
using the at least one processor, based on the further input from the first user, applying a power boost to the ball while it is flying along the trajectory.


U.S. Patent No. 8,668,561: Video games including real-life attributes and/or fantasy settings
Issued Mar. 11, 2014





Summary:

The ‘561 patent applies to networked games, like fantasy sports. A storage medium, such as a computer server, contains and maintains the rules of the game and character parameters, and also allows players to download certain game settings or components. The data on the server ensures consistent play experiences across multiple players. 


Abstract: 


A video gaming console and related network interfaces with a server computer hosting an online fantasy sports game. The video game machine acquires a fantasy team roster of the fantasy sport game over a network that includes the Internet and the video game console is programmed to create a video game team using at least a portion of the fantasy team roster. The video game team created is playable on the video game console.


Illustrative Claim: 

1. A method performed by a computer server for updating a video game team roster in a sports video game played on a video game console, the computer server configured to communicate with a plurality of video game machines via a network connection that includes the Internet, the method performed by the computer server comprising the following acts:
hosting an online fantasy sports game on the computer server configured to communicate with the plurality of video game machines via the network connection that includes the Internet, the online fantasy sports game including:
a plurality of fantasy sports teams that are each operated by a fantasy team owner in a fantasy sports league; each fantasy sports team having a fantasy team roster comprised of fantasy team members, wherein the fantasy team members are associated with real-life athletes of collegiate and/or professional sports teams and the fantasy team members of each fantasy team are selected by the fantasy team owner of each fantasy team through a fantasy draft; and wherein the online fantasy sports game provides a score for each fantasy sports team in the fantasy sports league, the score being calculated using statistics from a real-life performance of the real-life athletes associated with the member of each fantasy sports team; and transmitting a fantasy team roster associated with a particular fantasy team to the video game console, wherein the video game console is programmed to create a video game team including a plurality of video game characters corresponding to at least a portion of the members of the fantasy team roster to be played in the sports video game on the video game console, wherein the video game characters of the video game team are associated with the same real-life athletes that are associated with the fantasy team members of the fantasy team roster transmitted, wherein the fantasy team owner is not one of the real-life athletes engaging in the real-life sporting events who are associated with the fantasy team members.


U.S. Patent No. 8,591,332: Video game video editor
Issued Nov. 26, 2013, to Activision Publishing, Inc.


Summary:

The ‘332 patent describes a method of recording in game footage and including information such as score. The recordings happen continuously, allowing a player to select ideal footage. The method allows the player to edit footage using the game controller and add sound effects. Several videos can be combined into a compilation. Videos are intended to showcase gameplay.


Abstract:

A video editor for a video game is discussed. The video editor manipulates information of video game play to provide videos of game play and in some embodiments scoring of videos.


Illustrative Claim:

1. A method of providing audiovisual presentations for a video game, comprising:
during game play, saving game state information representative of a set of video clips, each video clip corresponding to a series of images generated during game play;
generating a video compilation using selected video clips from the set of video clips;
modifying the video compilation based on inputs from a video game controller; and
adding at least some audio with the video compilation to thereby form an audiovisual presentation, the at least some audio being associated with events included in the video compilation.
Acceleration Bay LLC v. Electronic Arts Inc.
Docket No. 1:15-cv-00282
U.S. District Court, District of Delaware
Filed March 30, 2015

On March 30, 2015, Acceleration Bay filed suit against Electronic Arts for the alleged infringement of six of its multiplayer video game patents. The patents-in-suit are: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,701,344; 6,714,966; 6,732,147; 6,829,634; 6,910,069; and 6,920,497. These patents read on interacting with broadcast channels to allow individual players to connect with other players and communicate with them throughout the game by using a multiplayer mode.

On June 18, 2015, EA filed a reply brief in support of its Motion to Dismiss. There has been no ruling on the Motion to Dismiss thus far.

The accused products are EA’s games FIFA 15, NHL 15, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, Crysis 3, and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. The complaint alleges that the accused EA games use Acceleration Bay’s network technology to offers users a multiplayer gaming environment.  

FIFA 15 has a gaming environment allowing individuals gamers to participate in an 11 vs. 11 online gameplay.


NHL 15 allows individual players to participate in its 5 vs. 5 online gameplay with its Online Team Play mode.


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 offer a multiplayer gaming environment and connects up to 24 individual players through its Connected Tournaments function.


 Crysis 3 offers a multiplayer mode using a peer-to-peer network for up to 12 individual players. Crysis 3 allows includes a 6 vs. 6 team play.


Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare offers a multiplayer gaming environment connecting up to 24 online players.



We will continue to provide updates as the case progresses.
Gametek LLC v. Facebook, Inc. et al.
United States District Court, Southern District of California
Case No. 3:12-cv-00501, Filed February 28, 2012

On July 2, 2012, Plaintiff Gametek filed a notice of voluntary dismissal against Defendants Facebook, Inc.;  Facebook Operations, LLC; Facebook Payments, Inc. and Facebook Services, Inc.

On December 7, 2012, the Court dismissed the claims against Defendants Cie Games, CrowdStar, EA, Funzio, Zygna, Digital Chocolate, 6Waves, and RockYou.

This case was terminated on April 8, 2014, following a settlement conference. All claims and counterclaims were dismissed with prejudice between Plaintiff Gametek LLC and Defendant Big Viking Games, Inc.

Gametek filed suit against 21 companies including Facebook, Electronic Arts, and Zynga. Gametek alleged the companies infringed its patent for virtual currency and payment system incorporating items bought and used in-game. Gametek sought damages and injunction through this lawsuit. The patent-in-suit was U.S. Patent 7,076,445.

The original post can be found here.
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