On May 15, 2018, Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC (“Sony”) filed a petition for Inter Partes review (“IPR”) of U.S. Patent No. 7,666,096 (the “’096 Patent”). The owner of the ’096 Patent is Techno View IP, Inc. (“Techno View”). The ’096 Patent generally relates to hardware and software for displaying stereoscopic images (e.g., by providing different images that are offset from a user’s left and right eyes to create a three-dimensional effect). While not explicitly discussed in the petition, the IPR is likely related to Sony’s Playstation VR system.
Claim 1 of the ’096 Patent reads:
1. A method of displaying images in a videogame system that supports two-dimensional and three-dimensional display of the images, said method comprising the computer implemented steps of:
clearing left and right backbuffers in the videogame system;
storing an image into the left backbuffer;
determining if the image is in a two-dimensional format or a three-dimensional format, wherein when the image is in a three-dimensional format, calculating the coordinates of a second view position of the image and storing a second view position image into the right backbuffer;
displaying the image stored in the left backbuffer onto one or more displays when the image is in a two-dimensional format; and
simultaneously displaying the images stored in the left and right backbuffers onto the one or more displays to create a three dimensional perspective of the image to a user when the image is in a three-dimensional format.
This isn’t the first IPR that Sony has filed regarding stereoscopy. Back in February, Sony filed an IPR petition against U.S. Patent No. 9,503,742, which relates to stereoscopic image decoding via data compression.
This filing is a great example of a defendants using IPRs to attack patents asserted in litigation. Per Sony’s IPR petition, the ’096 Patent is involved in a patent infringement lawsuit (No. 8:17-CV-01268) filed by Techno View in the Central District of California against Sony. The ’096 Patent was also asserted by Techno View against Sony in a U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware suit on May 15, 2017, though that case was dismissed. Techno View has apparently also asserted the ’096 Patent against Oculus VR, LLC and Facebook, Inc.