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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.
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