In the business of video games, intellectual property is critical to success, and Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks are the bricks with which your IP portfolio is built. The Patent Arcade is the web’s primary resource for video game IP law, news, cases, and commentary.

Comic Bookstore “Illustrates” Grievances in Third Amended Complaint


Criss-A-Less, Inc. v. ASDN Houston, LLC
The 151st District Court
Cause No. 2021-11255
Filed: June 23, 2021




Criss-A-Less, Inc., operates the Third Planet Sci-Fi and Fantasy Superstore (“Third Planet”), in Houston, Texas, next door to a large hotel, the Crowne Plaza River Oaks (“Crowne”). Third Planet sells comic books, figurines, posters, and so on and fancies itself to be one of the longest running comic bookstores in the nation.

Third Planet filed a lawsuit against Crowne for negligence, trespass, and nuisance, alleging that Crowne had allowed their patrons to throw objects off of the hotel’s balconies onto Third Planet’s roof, causing massive damage. Third Planet alleges it communicated with Crowne that this was happening, but nothing changed. The objects thrown at Third Planet have allegedly caused serious roof damage, two fires, and danger to patrons. The target practice, the complaint says, has escalated to numerous fire extinguishers being thrown from the balconies, causing serious structural damage. Third Planet had to amend its complaint several times, and the third amended complaint from Third Planet included something peculiar, an Origin Story.



Potentially an attempt to color its complaint or illustrate the ridiculousness of it all, 13 pages of Third Planet’s complaint feature comic-style pages telling their side of the story. These pages use much of the same language as the written parts of the complaint, and potentially add some comic relief to a usually and otherwise dry legal document.

In Third Planet’s own words, this lawsuit is “to be continued…!” While not an IP case, we will monitor and post updates if there are colorful reasons to do so.

Lawsuit Update: iLife Seeks Writ of Certiorari After Verdict Against Nintendo Tossed


iLife Tech., Inc. v. Nintendo Am., Inc.
Supreme Court of the United States
Case No. 20-1760
Filed: June 14, 2021


In August of 2017, a Northern District of Texas jury awarded iLife Technologies, Inc. (“iLife”) $10.1 million from Nintendo of America, Inc. (“Nintendo”) for patent infringement. The alleged patent infringement stemmed from Nintendo’s movement detection in some games on the Wii and WiiU. The victory was short lived, however, when Nintendo moved for judgement as a matter of law (JMOL) on the premise that iLife’s patent covered subject matter was patent-ineligible subject matter. The district court agreed with Nintendo and tossed iLife’s verdict and a Federal Circuit Court affirmed on appeal.


Patent-ineligible content has been addressed most recently by Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Intern., which confirms that abstract ideas, laws of nature, and natural phenomena are patent-ineligible. In Alice, the Court developed a two-step test to determine patent ineligibility under the abstract idea exception. The first step is to determine if the character of the claims in the patent are patent-ineligible under Alice, and if they are, the second step is to consider the elements of the claim to see if they transform the nature of the claim into something beyond an abstract idea and is instead something patent-eligible.


In the instance case, the Federal Circuit determined that iLife’s patent subject matter was an abstract idea, and then on step two found that it had no inventive concept to make it patent-eligible. The Federal Circuit therefore affirmed the district count’s JMOL decision.


One June 14, 2021, iLife petitioned for a writ of certiorari, i.e., they appealed to the United States Supreme Court. The questions presented by iLife’s petition are:


“1. What is the appropriate standard for determining whether a patent claim is “directed to” a patent-ineligible concept under step 1 of the Court’s two-step framework for determining whether an invention is eligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101?



  1. Is patent eligibility (at each step of the Court’s two-step framework) a question of law for the court based on the scope of the claims or a question of fact for the jury based on the state of art at the time of the patent?”


In the petition, iLife argued that the questions raised by its petition were the same as those in the case Am. Axle & Mfg. Inc. v. Neapco Holdings LLC, and that iLife’s petition should be held pending the outcome of the other case or alternatively granted.


The petition is pending and it is up to the Supreme Court if they will choose to take the case. Check back here for future updates.


U.S. Patent No. 10,799,802: Game System


Issued October 13, 2020 to Lego AS
Filed: April 7, 2016 (Claiming priority to April 8, 2015)


Overview:


U.S. Patent No. 10,799,802 (the ‘802 patent) relates to a game system that allows a user to engage in digital gameplay via physical manipulation of a physical toy. The ‘802 patent details a game system with a detection device for detecting a physical toy. The physical toy is made out of one or more construction pieces and two or more identification elements and the construction elements of the toy can be interchangeably connected. The toy can be detected by the detection device when it is a coherent structure and when two or more identification elements are positioned within the detection area. The user can then selectively position the toy with a user-selected subset of the two or more identification elements and, in response to the detected identification elements, the gaming system controls digital gameplay.


LEGO has already expanded into the digital gaming environment with a good deal of success, with beloved games like LEGO Star Wars. The ‘802 could combine digital games and physical toys for interesting control schemes and cross over between toys and video games.  


 


Abstract:


A game system, comprising: a data processing system configured to execute program instructions allowing a user to engage in digital game play; a physical toy; and a detection device configured to detect a presence of the toy within a detection area of the detection device; wherein the toy comprises two or more identification elements each detectable by the detection device when the identification element is positioned within the detection area, wherein the toy is configured to allow a user to selectively position the toy with a user-selected subset of one or more of said identification elements within the detection area; and wherein the data processing system is configured to control said digital game play responsive to the detected subset of identification elements.


 


Illustrative Claim:



  1. A game system, comprising: a data processing system configured to execute program instructions allowing a user to engage in digital game play; a physical toy; and a detection device configured to detect a presence of the toy within a detection area of the detection device; wherein the physical toy comprises one or more construction elements and two or more identification elements, said one or more construction elements being interchangeably connectable to said two or more identification elements; wherein the two or more identification elements are each detectable by the detection device when each of said two or more identification elements is positioned within the detection area; wherein the physical toy is a coherent structure wherein at least one of the two or more identification elements are physically interconnected with the one or more construction elements; wherein the physical toy is configured to allow a user to selectively position the physical toy with only a user-selected subset of the two or more identification elements within the detection area; and wherein the data processing system is configured to control said digital game play responsive to the detected subset of identification elements.



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