When a patent owner loses at the International Trade Commission (“ITC”), can it hire new counsel and try again in district court? That question will be answered in Gamevice, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. et al, No. 3-18-cv-01942 (N.D. Cal.), where plaintiff Gamevice is asserting three patents against Nintendo despite losing on those same patents in two prior ITC proceedings.
Hello Again, Worlds: A Failed Gaming IPR Leads to § 101 Success
The tides have turned again in the litigation campaign against gaming companies by Worlds, Inc., who many may recognize as one of the named parties in often-cited Federal Circuit case law on real-parties in interest (“RPI”). In 2018, the Federal Circuit shook up the IPR landscape with a series of RPI decisions, starting with Wi-Fi One, LLC v. Broadcom Corp., which held that the PTAB’s time-bar determinations under § 315(b) are appealable. A series of frequently-cited Federal Circuit decisions followed, including Applications in Internet Time, LLC v. RPX Corp. and Worlds, Inc. v. Bungie, Inc.…
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ITC Threat for Gaming Companies Grows with PTAB Discretionary Denials
While most patent disputes involving gaming companies are located in district courts, the ITC remains a viable option for at least some gaming disputes, where a patent owner can have the U.S. government bar importation of products found to infringe. While the ITC does not provide monetary damages, it’s extremely fast schedule and willingness to bar importation of infringing products makes it a desirable forum for patent owners.
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Clash of Game Companies: Lessons Learned from GREE and Supercell Dispute
With 6 lawsuits, 32 preliminary injunction actions, and over 20 PTAB proceedings, GREE and Supercell have been duking it out in the IP world, with millions of dollars in legal fees being spent in the process. Most recently, the PTAB denied Supercell’s PTAB challenges to GREE patents in early September, while an Eastern District of Texas lawsuit went to verdict and found in favor of GREE on September 18th, awarding $8.5 million dollars in damages to GREE.…
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Left Empty Handed: Valve Shut Down on Written Prior Art, Highlighting Importance of System Art
System art is of increasing importance in patent disputes despite being frequently overlooked or “left for later” in many cases. A recent decision in the Ironburg Inventions v. Valve Corp. case highlights the importance of system prior art, particularly as IPR success rates have dropped from their high points in 2012-15.
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“Addressing Video Game Claims Under the Phillips Standard at the PTAB”
Last fall, the PTAB modified its procedures for IPR claim construction, eliminating the use of the broadest reasonable interpretation standard. Since the rule change last year, companies challenging the validity of patents at the PTAB are required to use the Phillips plain and ordinary meaning standard.
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Converting an IPR Loss into a District Court Win
It is very common to defend against a claim of patent infringement by litigating in the district court and the PTAB in parallel. The most straightforward-way for the defendant to win is to persuade the PTAB that the asserted patent is invalid. But, that is becoming more difficult as Director Iancu pushes the PTAB to apply greater scrutiny to petitions in order to address patent owner criticism that the PTAB proceedings are unfair. However, a recent decision disposing of a non-practicing entity’s long-running litigation against Ubisoft highlights how a defendant that ultimately lost on an issue before the PTAB can use the loss to their advantage in district court.
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Caution to Game Companies: PTAB Continues to Preclude PTAB Challenges That It Views As Untimely
In a proceeding that included Patent Office Director Andrei Iancu on the panel, the PTAB issued an order this past week denying institution of 3 IPRs filed by Valve. The decision demonstrates that the PTAB continues to tighten its standards for institution of post-grant challenges, including based upon considerations related to what it perceives as fairness to patent owners.
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Challenges in Filing Successful IPR Petitions for Video Game Patents
Video game patents being asserted in litigation are frequently challenged by defendants at the Patent Trial and Appeals Board by filing a petition requesting inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), or (less frequently) covered business method review (CBM). Gaming companies need to be cautious in preparing these petitions as the PTAB continues to increase its scrutiny of petitions and is showing a reluctance to “fill in the dots” for deficient petitions.
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Recent Blockchain Patents of Note
As we have previously reported, the number of blockchain patents being filed and granted is continuing to increase. According to a Thomson Reuters report, 225 out of the 406 blockchain patents (55.4%) filed in 2017 came from China, followed by 91 (22.4%) from the U.S. and 13 (3.2%) from Australia. The following is a brief summary of a few such patents that have been recently filed or granted in the U.S.
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Legal Issues With Blockchain-Based Crypto Games and Collectibles
The use of blockchain technology for crypto games, such as CryptoKitties, and other token-based digital collectibles is on the rise. Also growing is the number of tokenized-assets marketplaces such as Rarebits and cryptocurrency designed specifically for gaming, such as Enjin Coin. These innovative platforms are leveraging the power of blockchain technology as applied to games and other interactive entertainment.
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