Visit BannerWitcoff.com

U.S. Patent No. 7,677,977: Video game processing apparatus, a method and a computer program product for processing a video game
Issued March 16, 2010, to Square Enix


Summary:

The ‘977 describes a feature for role-playing games whereby the main character is controlled by the user while a sub-character (computer controlled) follows behind him. The invention programs the sub-character so that he follows the path taken by the main character. Thus, the character automatically follows the user. This saves the user time by only having to move one character, not both. If the player gets too far ahead of the sub-character, the sub-character is programmed to take the shortest route to catch up to the user-controlled character.

Abstract:

A movement determining map is stored in addition to a field display map. The field display map is a three-dimensional map for displaying a field of the video game on the image display screen. The movement determining map is a two-dimensional map in which an enterable region. An unenterable region is distinguishably provided for the characters existing in the field. A control section determines a movement route of the sub character, in which no unenterable region exists, using the movement determining map when a predetermined movement route determining condition is met. The sub character is caused to move in accordance with the determined movement route. The predetermined movement route determining condition is met every predetermined period of time or in the case where the main character moves apart from the sub character in a predetermined distance or more.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A video game processing apparatus that causes an image display apparatus to display multiple characters, including a main character and a sub character moving in a field that includes an enterable region and an unenterable region provided in a virtual three-dimensional space, on an image display screen of the image display apparatus, the video game processing apparatus controlling progress of the video game by controlling an action such as moving of the main character to be displayed on the image display screen in accordance with operations by a player and an action such as moving of the sub character following the moving of the main character to be displayed on the image display screen in accordance with a predetermined control program, the sub character moving so as to follow the main character, the video game processing apparatus comprising: a movement determining map generator that generates a movement determining mare based on a field display map, the field display mare being a three-dimensional mare that represents the field provided in the virtual three-dimensional space, the movement determining mare being a two-dimensional representation of the field display mare that identifies the enterable region and the unenterable region of the field; a movement determining map memory that stores the movement determining map in addition to the field display map; a movement route determiner that identifies the enterable region and the unenterable region on the field provided in the virtual three-dimensional space by using the movement determining map and that determines a movement route of the sub character in the field using the movement determining map when the main character separates from the sub character by a predetermined distance; and a movement executor that causes the sub character to move in accordance with the movement route determined by the movement route determiner, wherein the determined movement route of the sub character causes the sub character to follow the main character in the enterable region on the field, and wherein the determined movement route of the sub character exists only in the enterable region on the field.

P.S. PRODUCTS, INC. v. ACTIVISION BLIZZARD, INC., 
Case No. 4:13-cv-00342-KGB 
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas

Activision delivers a knockout punch.

P.S. Products had sued Activision Blizzard for patent infringement based on a design patent owned by P.S. Products directed to the design of a stun gun shaped to look like and be worn as brass knuckles.  Activision Blizzard had included a different looking virtual brass-knuckle-stun-gun in Call of Duty, Black Ops II. Litigation ensued.  After various motions, and before getting too far along, the court has now granted Activision's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

Two points are critical here.

First, the differences between the two designs:

P.S. Products' Design Patent D561,294:
Activision Blizzard's Galvaknuckles:


Second, the design patent depicts physical brass knuckles, whereas the galvaknuckles are only ever rendered as a virtual item in a video game.  Activision Blizzard does not manufacture or sell physical Galvaknuckles.

While the differences in appearance certainly weigh in the mind of the judge, the court instead relies heavily on the second point in dismissing the patent infringement claim, stating "[n]o reasonable person would purchase defendants’ video game believing that they were purchasing plaintiffs’ stun gun."  The court thereby apparently takes the view that a design patent for a physical item is not infringed by a virtual rendering of that item. However, the court is silent regarding whether the significant differences in the designs of the two items at issue here played any part in its analysis.  The court also dismissed (for less interesting reasons) the unfair trade, trade dress, and trademark infringement counts.

Order dated February 21, 2014


U.S. Patent No. 7,677,979: Method and system for allocating resources in a video game
Issued March 16, 2010, to Leviathan Entertainment, LLC




Summary:

The ‘979 patent is intended for use during MMOs whereby a player can control the quantity and distribution of virtual natural resources. The user has the ability to exchange resources with a second player. The resources in the game are renewable and the player can exchange them at will. The value of the resources depends on a conversion rate set by the two players involved. The player needs to use these resources to complete game objectives, so they more wisely he uses the resources, the better the game will be for him.

Abstract:

The present disclosure provides various novel concepts to a video game environment. The disclosure describes video game environments that include a method and system for controlling the quantity and distribution of virtual natural resources, raw materials, skills and NPCs in and between games, where player characters may acquire, use and modify such virtual resources within the physical limits of the games.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A method performed by a computing device, the method comprising: running, by a Video Game Central Server, a massive multi player online game that is operable to simultaneously support a plurality of players via a plurality of video game devices, in which each of the players controls at least one player character, in which play of the game continues regardless of whether a first player character of the plurality of player characters is logged in to the game; in which a first game environment is provided to the first player character; acquiring, by the Video Game Central Server, virtual resources from a second game environment through a virtual exchange, based on a conversion rate between the first game environment and the second game environment, wherein the first game environment and the second game environment exist in different games; determining, by the Video Game Central Server, a value in the first game environment of the virtual resources from the second game environment; and permitting, by the Video Game Central Server, the first player character to select an amount of virtual resources for distribution within the game environment wherein the resources available for selection depends on a game objective.


U.S. Patent No. 7,682,237: Music game with strike sounds changing in quality in the progress of music and entertainment music system
Issued March 23, 2010, to SSD Company Limited



Summary:

The ‘237 patent describes a music game console where the player strikes a surface in time with notes on the screen to produce musical sounds. The musical sounds change in the game depending on the timing of the player. The pitch of the musical sound is controlled by the location of the player’s strike and the strength of the strike. Pitches are lowest at the bottom of the strike zone and are quieter when the player strikes the surface softly.

Abstract:

Indication objects are displayed on a television monitor at the intervals in agreement with the rhythm of music, such that the player can generate musical tones in synchronization with music by striking the strike surface of a music game console in the appropriate timing as indicated by indication objects. In this case, the tone quality of the strike sound changes in the progress of music on the basis of strike sound indicating information.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A music game console comprising; a plurality of strike surfaces to be struck by a player; a plurality of detection circuits that correspond respectively to said strike surfaces; a plurality of vibration transmission plates that correspond respectively to said detection circuits; a plurality of resilient members that correspond respectively to said vibration transmission plates; and a support structure that supports said vibration transmission plates, wherein each of said vibration transmission plates is supported by said support structure through the corresponding resilient members, wherein said support structure is fixed inside of a housing such that each of said vibration transmission plates is located to face a rear surface of said corresponding strike surface, wherein said detection circuits are located to face said support structure, each of said detection circuits being attached to a corresponding one of said vibration transmission plates, wherein said vibration transmission plates are supported by said support structure so as not to contact with each other, wherein each of said detection circuits detects a striking strength and outputs strike information indicative of the striking strength, and wherein each of the resilient members comprises a rubber or a spring, wherein said support structure is provided with a plurality of holes that correspond respectively to said vibration transmission plates, wherein each of said vibration transmission plates is provided at a lower surface thereof with a guide, wherein each of said guides is inserted into a corresponding hole of said support structure though said corresponding resilient member, and wherein each of the guides does not contract an inner surface of the corresponding hole.


U.S. Patent No. 7,682,243: Method for providing online game which changes pilot data and unit data in gear and system thereof
Issued March 23, 2010, to NHN Corporation


Summary:

The ‘243 patent seeks to correct a problem with past games: whenever a player’s character levels up, any robot or computer-controlled character does not level alongside him. This can create problems when the user’s character gains new abilities needed to compete with later foes, but the computer’s character remains weak and in the same form as when the game began. The present invention proportionally levels the computer player whenever the user’s character levels. This allows the gamer to compete in the game with a capable companion.

Abstract:

Disclosed are an online game providing method including the steps of: maintaining a unit information database recording unit information on at least one unit, in which the unit information includes at least one piece of unit ability information and sync point information; maintaining a pilot information database recording pilot information on at least one pilot, in which the pilot information includes a unit identifier associated with a pilot, at least one piece of pilot ability information and unit ability information associated with the pilot ability information; receiving updating request information on first pilot ability information of a first pilot; searching for unit identifier information associated with the first pilot by referring to the pilot information database; searching for sync point information associated with the searched unit identifier information by referring to the unit information database; and updating and recording first pilot ability information and unit ability information associated therewith in accordance with the searched sync point information, respectively, and a system thereof.

Illustrative Claim:

1. An online game providing method for providing a pilot and a unit associated with the pilot at an online game, the method comprising the steps of: controlling an online game such that a player can manipulate a pilot and a unit associated with said pilot, said pilot being a game character operated by a player, said pilot representing the player, said unit being a virtual object controlled by the player; maintaining a unit information database, the unit information database recording unit information on said unit, in which the unit information includes ability of said unit and sync point information; maintaining a pilot information database, the pilot information database recording pilot information on said pilot, in which the pilot information includes a unit identifier indicating said unit associated with said pilot, ability of said pilot and the ability of said unit associated with said pilot; receiving a request for update on first pilot ability information of a first pilot; searching for unit identifier information associated with the first pilot by referring to the pilot information database; searching for sync point information associated with the searched unit identifier information by referring to the unit information database; and updating and recording the first pilot ability information and unit ability information associated therewith in accordance with the searched sync point information such that said ability of unit is changed proportionally to changes in ability of the pilot by referring to said sync point, wherein said sync point information is a ratio of which changes in said ability of pilot are applied to said ability of unit, and said steps of searching for unit identifier information and of searching for sync point information are performed by a processor.

< Previous     Home     Next >

Get the Patent Arcade App

Get the Patent Arcade App
Available now for iOS

Search This Blog

Recognition

Buy your copy today!

Buy your copy today!
ABA Legal Guide, 2d Ed.

Ross Dannenberg

Scott Kelly

Scott Kelly
Archives

Blogroll

Data Analytics

Copyright ©2005–present Ross Dannenberg. All rights reserved.
Visit BannerWitcoff.com