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.

Default Judgment Entered Against Seller of Nintendo Switch Jailbreak


Nintendo of America Inc. v. Minh
Case No. 2:20-cv-01707
United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
Filed November 18, 2020




Nintendo of America Inc. (“Nintendo”) filed suit against the seller of a Nintendo Switch jailbreak that lets Switch users play pirated games. The “RCM Loader” device, which defendant Le Hoang Minh sold on Amazon, injects “payload injection files” into the Nintendo Switch software when physically inserted into the Switch. This unauthorized custom firmware circumvents Nintendo’s technological protection measures to give users the ability to make unauthorized copies of their Switch games as well as play unauthorized copies.

17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(2) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) prohibits trafficking in any technology primarily designed for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected by copyright law. Nintendo filed a DMCA takedown notice with Amazon to have the RCM Loader product listing removed under 17 U.S.C. § 512(c), but the defendant submitted a counter-notification under 17 U.S.C. § 512(g)(3). In response, Nintendo filed suit.

Nintendo alleged that the defendant caused it significant financial harm by reducing sales of licensed authentic copies of video games by jailbreaking the Switch’s firmware to allow players to play unauthorized pirated games from which Nintendo receives no revenue.

Nintendo also alleged that defendant’s “unlawful conduct falls squarely within the DMCA anti-trafficking and anti-circumvention provisions” because the RCM Loader specifically “enables the deactivation of Nintendo’s technological protection measures—which Nintendo developed and put in place to protect its copyrighted works from unlawful access and copying—thereby causing widespread piracy of Nintendo’s copyrighted video games.”

Minh did not answer and a default judgment was entered for Nintendo on February 22nd. Nintendo sought damages and injunctive relief, which will ultimately be decided by the court.

U.S. Patent No. 10,482,486: Detached economy in online game


Issued November 19, 2019 to Zynga Inc.
Priority Date: August 2, 2011




Summary:
U.S. Patent No. 10,482,486 (the ’486 Patent) relates to games with detached economies and separate currencies that may have limited interaction between them with one game serving as an extension for the other. The ’486 Patent details a method of one game’s currency being able to be used on a limited basis to gain some advancement in a second, extension game with a separate currency. Some currency or other items from the extension game may be able to be used to gain some advancement in the first game. For example, in Zynga’s FrontierVille, players may use their currency from their homestead to purchase a limited quantity and variety of in-game items in Zynga’s Pioneer Trail (which is an extension of FrontierVille and uses a different currency) to prepare their wagon in Pioneer Trail for an expedition. The player may receive rewards from their expedition in Pioneer Trail that can be transferred to their homestead in FrontierVille

Abstract:
Methods, systems, and computer programs for generating revenue in an online game are presented. One method includes an operation for executing a first video game having a first currency enabling a user to achieve advancement in the first video game. The method also includes an operation for executing a second video game that is an autonomous game module within the first video game, the second video game enables the user to select one or more assets from the first video game for use in the second video game but limits the number of assets such that the one or more assets are insufficient to complete the second video game. The method further includes operations for detecting completion of the second video game and selecting one or more reward assets for use in the first video game and for transferring the one or more reward assets to the first video game for the user to use to achieve the advancement in the first video game.

Illustrative Claim:
1. A method, comprising: executing, at a server, a first video game for play by a user of a client device, the first video game having a first currency enabling the user to achieve advancement in the first video game; executing, at the server, a second video game that is an autonomous game module within the first video game, the second video game enables the user to select one or more assets from the first video game for use in the second video game, the second video game limiting a number of assets the user is able to select such that when selected, the one or more assets are insufficient to complete the second video game, wherein the second video game has a second currency enabling the user to achieve advancement in the second video game, and wherein the first currency is prevented from enabling the user to achieve the advancement in the second video game and the second currency is prevented from enabling the user to achieve the advancement in the first video game; detecting, at the server, completion of the second video game by the user and selecting one or more reward assets for use in the first video game, the one or more reward assets are different from the one or more assets selected from the first video game for use in the second video game; and transferring the one or more reward assets to the first video game for the user to use to achieve the advancement in the first video game.

U.S. Patent No. 10,610,786: Multiplayer video game matchmaking optimization


Issued April 7, 2020 to Electronic Arts Inc.
Priority Date: March 8, 2016




Summary:
U.S. Patent No. 10,610,786 (the ’786 Patent) relates to optimizing matchmaking in a multiplayer video game through analysis of prior game history data from players wishing to play an instance of a video game. The ’786 Patent details a method of selecting users for a match from a queue of players waiting to be placed. The selection criteria may include play style, skill level, character selection history, role history, length of time spent in the queue, geographic location, and predicted retention rate, among others. The predicted retention rate is used to predict how long each user will continue to play the video game, and if the predicted retention rate fails to meet the predetermined retention threshold, then players may be replaced with others from the queue. This method may be used to create a match plan comprising multiple teams. 

Abstract:
Embodiments of systems presented herein may identify users to include in a match plan. A parameter model may be generated to predict the retention time of a set of users. A queue of potential users, a set of teammates, and/or opponents may be selected from a queue of waiting users. User information for the set of teammates and/or opponents may be provided to the parameter model to generate a predicted retention time. The set of teammates and/or opponents may be approved if the predicted retention time meets a predetermined threshold. Advantageously, by creating a match plan based on retention rates, the engagement and/or retention level for a number of users may be improved compared to existing multiplayer matching systems.

Illustrative Claim:
1. A computer-implemented method comprising: as implemented by an interactive computing system configured with specific computer-executable instructions, generating a match plan by at least selecting a plurality of users from a queue of users waiting to play an instance of a video game, wherein a first user and a second user of the plurality of users are designated as a user pair to be selected to play together in an instance of the video game; for each user from the plurality of users, accessing user interaction data associated with the user's interaction with the video game; determining a predicted retention value for the match plan based at least in part on the user interaction data for each user from the plurality of users, the predicted retention value associated with a predicted amount of time that a set of users included in the match plan will play the video game; determining that the predicted retention value of the match plan does not satisfy a match plan retention threshold; and generating an updated match plan by substituting at least one user from the plurality of users with another user from the queue of users while maintaining the first user and the second user as a user pair to be selected to play together in an instance of the video game.


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