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U.S. Patent No. 7,654,903: Online gaming cheating prevention system and method
Issued Feb. 2, 2010


Summary:

The ‘903 patent describes a system which observes players playing online for any signs of cheating. For anyone who has played Halo online and been a victim of the “laggers,” this invention couldn’t come soon enough. While the players play their game, their data is sent to a separate server which analyzes the data for any signs of cheating. All of the servers which run the game are linked together and share information—this helps prevent cheaters from jumping from server-to-server and never getting caught. Whenever a player is caught cheating on a certain server, the player will be banned from that server. While he can still play on the other servers, he will never be allowed back on the server he has been banned from; this effectively prevents him from continuous cheating without being punished.

Abstract:

Technology is provided for preventing cheating during online gaming, including a first online gaming server computer system configured to gather information regarding cheaters detected during online gaming; a second online gaming server computer system configured to receive the information; and a central database configured for aggregating the received information regarding cheaters detected during online gaming gathered by the first online gaming server computer system along with information stored on the central database regarding cheaters detected during online gaming gathered from a plurality of online gaming server computer systems. The aggregated information from the central database regarding cheaters detected is made available to the second online gaming server computer system, and cheaters identified in the aggregated information are prevented from online gaming on the second online gaming server computer system based on the aggregated information from the central database.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A system for preventing cheating during online gaming, the system comprising: a first online gaming server computer system configured to gather information regarding cheaters detected during online gaming; a second online gaming server computer system configured to receive the information regarding cheaters detected during online gaming gathered by the first online gaming server computer system; and a central database configured to aggregate the received information regarding cheaters detected during online gaming gathered by the first online gaming server computer system along with information stored on the central database regarding cheaters detected during online gaming gathered from a plurality of online gaming server computer systems, wherein the aggregated information from the central database regarding cheaters detected during online gaming is made available to the second online gaming server computer system, whereby cheaters identified in the aggregated information from the central database are prevented from online gaming on the second online gaming server computer system based on the aggregated information from the central database.

Secure Axcess, LLC. v. Nintendo of America Inc.
United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
Filed July 7, 2014; Decided August 4, 2015
Case No. 2:14-cv-01013



Secure Axcess filed suit against Nintendo of America S/A alleging infringement of U.S. Patent 6,522,309.  The accused products are Defendants’ Nintendo DS handheld game consoles. 

The ‘309 patent is entitled, “Multiscreen Personal Computer Display Method and Apparatus,” and it relates to a computer with multiple display capability. A user can simultaneously display documents using a singular processed video data signal source, on two or more screens. The '309 teaches a device termed a "translative video adapter", which is used on two or more screens to view and edit documents simultaneously. S/A asserts that Nintendo patent 7,786,997 entitled, "Portable Game Machine and Computer-Readable Recording Medium," infringes the '309 patent with its dual-screen.

Claim 1:

1. A multiple monitor video display method for use with a computer to produce a real-time display on a first monitor and a computer user selected predecessory display on a second monitor and comprising steps of:
processing computer program data into a ported source of display-ready first processed video data signal;
first intercoupling the ported source of first processed video data signal and the first monitor;
first displaying the first processed video data signal on the first monitor as the real time display;
second intercoupling the ported source of first processed video data signal and a translative video adapter (TVA) comprising further steps of:
first enabling the computer user to select a first sample of a first screen portion of the first processed video data signal second intercoupled with a TVA input port;
first storing first video data representing the first sample in a first memory;
advancing the computer program data to usually produce a second screen portion of the first processed video data signal for updating the real-time display on the first monitor;
first reading the first stored said first video data from the first memory;
first converting the first read said first video data signal into a first predecessory video signal; and,
second displaying the first predecessory video signal on a second monitor as the first predecessory display.


On August 4, 2015, the court entered a judgment in favor of Nintendo, finding Defendants did not infringe the ‘309 patent. The judgment was based on the claim construction order, which was found in favor of Defendants.


In the claim construction order, both parties asked the Court to construe "translative video adapter", which is used in Claims 1, 9, and 13 in the asserted patent. Plaintiff argued the TVA included software and/or hardware, but the Court declined to adopt this construction. Instead, the Court agreed with Nintendo that the TVA should be construed to mean an accessory device. The Court stated, "the term TVA appears in Claims 1 and 9 as a structure - as a physical device to be intercoupl[ed] with data signal and a monitor - not as a function."
U.S. Patent No. 7,654,901: Video game system using bio-feedback devices
Issued Feb. 2, 2010


Summary:

The ‘901 patent describes a game system where a player puts on a headset which measures his bio-feedback and displays it for him to see. The headset is designed to measure participant physiological data and incorporate it in real-time into the game. The headset includes a galvanometer which measures skin resistance, an ear piece which transmits audio from the game to the participant, and a microphone which allows verbal communication from the participant. The headset itself is electronically coupled with the handheld video game system. It’s an interesting concept, certainly something Stanley Kubrick would be proud of.

Abstract:

A video game system using one or more bio-feedback devices for the monitor and transmission of physiological data of a participant of the video game system to the video game system where the data, along with conventional controller data is incorporated into game play provided by software through the video game system. A headset electrically coupled to a video game system, the headset including one or more bio-feedback devices for transmitting participant physiological data to the video game system for real-time incorporation into game play.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A headset for use with a video game system, the headset comprising: a first bio-feedback device for transmitting to a video game system physiological data of a participant thereof comprising a respiratory voice sensor, wherein the respiratory voice sensor comprises a thermocouple; one or more second bio-feedback devices for transmitting to a video game system physiological data of a participant thereof, wherein the one or more second bio-feedback devices comprise at least one of an electroencephalogram electrode or a galvanometer; a communication link for electrically coupling the headset and the video game system; and conductive wiring for electrically coupling the first and second bio-feedback devices with the communication link.

An interesting story came across my email recently, and I wanted to share it with our readers, especially the attorneys who follow our blog.  For those who don't know, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals hears all appellate patent cases.  The Federal Circuit was formed Friday, October 1, 1982.  Before that all patent cases were heard by the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals (CCPA).  Many people don't realize this, but the very first appeal ever filed in the newly formed Federal Circuit was a VIDEO GAME case!  Yes, it was appeal no. 83-500, The Magnavox Co. v. Mattel, Inc.  Some of the attorneys for the appellants include Dennis Allegretti and Mark T. Banner, both of our firm.  The article I read is more of a historical account as opposed to a legal analysis, but an interesting read nonetheless.  Here is the first two paragraphs to whet your appetite:

For many years, George E. Hutchinson, the first clerk of the Federal Circuit, told the story that on the first day of the court’s existence, Friday, October 1, 1982, a young lawyer from Chicago showed up bright and early at his office and filed an emergency motion for a stay pending appeal—even before the judges of the court had been sworn in.
Just over thirty-two years after the oral argument in that first appeal, I became the last counsel of record who can give a first-person account of the oral argument and the case, and therefore I take this opportunity to tell the story. This was appeal no. 83-500, The Magnavox Co. v. Mattel, Inc., the first appeal from the district court filed in the Federal Circuit. The public knows nothing about it because no opinion was released—the parties reached a settlement literally on the eve of an opinion being published.

The article is by Edward D. Manzo, and you can look it up in The Federal Circuit Bar Journal, Vol. 25, No. 1.
U.S. Patent No. 7,637,815: Video game processing apparatus, a method and a computer program product for processing a video game
Issued Dec. 29, 2009, to Square Enix


Summary:

The ‘815 patent describes a system in RPG and MMOG games where the player can earn points and level up his character throughout the course of the game. The invention here describes a method for allowing a player to continue through the game and earning points until he reaches a save point. At the save point, the player’s total points are added together and if the value is higher than the next level requirement, the player will level up.

Abstract:

In a continue screen operation corresponding process, in the case where the player selects to reflect an acquired experiential value to a PC experiential value, a control section of a video game apparatus adds the acquired experiential value to a level-up unused experiential value. Then, in the case where the control section determines that the level-up unused experiential value is an experiential value required for a next level or more, the control section increments a level of a player character, subtracts the experiential value required for a next level from the level-up unused experiential value, and adds the experiential value required for a next level to a level-up used experiential value. The control section then updates an experiential value required for a next level. In the case where the control section determines that the level-up unused experiential value becomes less than the updated experiential value required for a next level, other status of the player character is updated and the processing flow is terminated.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A video game processing apparatus that causes an image display apparatus to display a player character of a video game on an image screen of the image display apparatus, the video game processing apparatus controlling progress of the video game by controlling an action of the player character displayed on the image screen in accordance with operations by a player, the video game processing apparatus comprising: a game progress state information memory that stores game progress state information that indicates a progress state of the video game; a game progress state information update processor that, when a predetermined save execution condition is met, updates the game progress state information stored in the game progress state information memory to allow the player to resume playing the video game from the progress state of the video game indicated by the game progress state information; an acquired experiential value determiner that determines an experiential value that the player character is caused to acquire when a predetermined condition to acquire the experiential value is met; an experiential value memory that stores the experiential value determined by the acquired experiential value determiner; a game continuation determiner that, when the player character attains a battle impossible state, determines whether the video game is to be continued in response to an instruction from the player; an experiential value reflection receiver that receives from the player whether the experiential value stored in the experiential value memory is to be reflected to a level of the player character in the video game when the game continuation determiner determines to continue playing the video game; an experiential value reflector that reflects the experiential value stored in the experiential value memory to the level of the player character in the video game when the experiential value reflection receiver receives the instruction that the experiential value is to be reflected to the level of the player character in the video game; an experiential value parameter reflector that converts and reflects the experiential value stored in the experiential value memory to a money point that is to be used as money in the video name when the experiential value reflection receiver receives the instruction that the experiential value is not to be reflected to the level of the player character in the video game; and a game continuation processor that, when the experiential value reflection receiver receives the instruction that the experiential value is to be reflected to the level of the player character in the video game after the game continuation determiner determines to continue playing the video game, maintains the level of the player character in the video game, to which the experiential value stored in the experiential value memory has been reflected by the experiential value reflector, and, when the experiential value reflection receiver receives the instruction that the experiential value is not to be reflected to the level of the player character in the video game after the game continuation determiner determines to continue playing the video game, maintains parameters other than the level of the player character in the video game, to which the experiential value stored in the experiential value memory has been reflected by the experiential value parameter reflector, and causes the video game to proceed to a scene indicated by the game progress state information stored in the game progress state information memory.

U.S. Patent No. 7,637,813: Video game device and video game program
Issued Dec. 29, 2009, to Nintendo


Summary:

The ‘813 patent describes a handheld game whereby the player controls his character by drawing a line on the touch pad. The character can move either on the line or parallel to the line, but nowhere else. The invention can also store paths which the user can select to aid his character’s movement throughout the game.

Abstract:
A moving character and a background image are displayed on a display screen with a touch panel thereon. When the player operates the touch panel to draw a line in an intended path extending between a start point and an end point along which the player wishes to guide the moving character, an operation trace image having the shape of the line drawn is displayed on the display screen. Then, the moving character moves along or in parallel to the operation trace image. The operation trace image is gradually erased after a predetermined amount of time elapses. Thus, it is possible to provide a video game device and a video game program in which the player can influence the moving path or the moving direction of the player (moving) character based on the shape and/or the direction of the line drawn by the player.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A video game device, comprising: a display section for displaying a game image; a position inputting unit for inputting a position on the game image; trace storage control programmed logic circuitry for storing, in storage locations, trace data representing a series of input positions inputted by the position inputting unit; movement control programmed logic circuitry for storing, in storage locations, position data of a moving character and updating the position data based on a predetermined rule; determination programmed logic circuitry for determining whether or not the moving character has contacted a trace based on the trace data and the position data, said trace having the shape of a line drawn displayed on the display section; on-trace movement control programmed logic circuitry for updating the position data so that the moving character moves according to the trace based on the trace data when it is determined by the determination programmed logic circuitry that the moving character has contacted the trace; and display control programmed logic circuitry for displaying the moving character on the display section based on the position data.


Promotional Technologies LLC v. Facebook, Inc. et al.
United States District Court, Northern District of Texas
Case No. 3:11-cv-03488, Filed December 15, 2011

This case was terminated on October 25, 2013. All claims and counterclaims were dismissed with prejudice subject to a settlement agreement dated October 18, 2013.

Promotional Technologies sued Facebook and Zynga for patent infringement.  Promotional alleged that Facebook and Zynga infringed its patent through their games Farmville, MafiaWars, and other online games offering virtual prizes. The patent-in-suit is U.S. Patent 6,749,511  and it relates to an online game designed to promote websites through a host website that launches the promotional applet. The purpose of the system is to promote websites by encouraging users to revisit them by offering prizes.

The original post of the case is located here.
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