Press Release Patent Reform

Public Knowledge and EFF Deliver Critical Hit to Patent Case Against Video Game Companies

June 22, 2015 , ,

Friday, Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus curiae brief with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in the case McRO v. Bandai Namco. The case, in which more than 20 major computer game developers have been sued for patent infringement, involves technology relating to computer-generated animation, and specifically for automatic lip synchronization of animated characters.

The following may be attributed to Charles Duan, Director of the Patent Reform Project at Public Knowledge:

“A patent is not some sort of BFG that can blow up the entire gaming industry. Patents are meant to protect specific inventions against specific competitors — sniper rifles rather than grenade launchers.

“The patents here miss that target. Though I have little doubt that the inventor wrote some very useful, valuable software for computer-aided lip synchronization, his patent does not claim his specific ideas — they claim ownership over just about the entire field of automated lip synchronization, his way or anyone else’s. That excessive splash damage from overbroad patents is exactly what the Supreme Court has been shutting down for the last fifty years, most recently in its Alice v. CLS Bank decision, and it dooms the patents in this case.

“The patent owner says that rejecting his patents would be a freeze ray to the software industry, but that’s simply not the case. Software patents like these tax the innovation industry rather than help it. We urge the Court of Appeals to reject the patent owner’s Leroy Jenkins plan instead of rushing to save this patent without thinking carefully of the consequences.”

You may view the McRO v. Bandai Namco brief for more information.