GREE Inc.’s Patent Infringement Suit Against “Clash Royale” Creator Supercell Survives Motion to Dismiss

GREE Inc. v. Supercell OY
Case No.: 2:19-cv-00413
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
Amended March 9, 2020

This case is yet another patent dispute between Japanese game maker GREE Inc. and Finland-based Supercell OY, the creator of mobile games Clash of Clans and Clash Royale. This particular case follows an inter partes review that concluded last year, where the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed with Supercell that some claims of GREE’s U.S. Patent No. 9,597,594 claimed unpatentable subject matter.

In a complaint amended March 2020, GREE asserts that Supercell’s Clash Royale infringes both U.S. Patent No. 10,518,177 (the “177 Patent”), which relates to a “[g]ame control method,” and U.S. Patent No. 10,583,362 (the “362 Patent”), which relates to “[c]hanging battle card game conditions during different terms.” Broadly, the ’177 Patent and the ’362 Patent (the “Asserted Patents”) describe a method of managing a time-limited group battle through time slots to control battle conditions so that players of different levels and attack strengths can participate. Claim 1 of the ’177 Patent, reproduced below, is illustrative.

Claim 1 of the ’177 Patent describes:
1. A non-transitory computer-readable recording medium storing instructions to be executed by one or a plurality of computers capable of being used by a player conducting a battle game, the instructions causing the one or a plurality of computers to execute steps of:
(a) displaying, on a first field, a plurality of cards selected from a deck which is a stack of virtual cards;
(b) during a first term of the battle game, conducting a battle to a first opponent character based on a parameter set on a card selected by a player’s operation under a first battle condition, wherein the first battle condition is not changed during the first term;
(c) at a conclusion of the first term of the battle game, automatically initiating a second term of the battle game, and during the second term of the battle game continued from the first term, conducting the battle to a second opponent character based on the parameter set on the card selected by the player’s operation under a second battle condition, wherein the second battle condition is different from the first battle condition and is predetermined independent from a battle result of the first term, and the first opponent character and the second opponent character are same or different, and wherein the second battle condition is not changed during the second term; and
(d) during a third term of the battle game continued from the second term, conducting the battle to a third opponent character based on the parameter set on the card selected by the player’s operation under a third battle condition, wherein the third battle condition is different from the second battle condition and is dependent on a battle result of the second term, and the second opponent character and the third opponent character are same or different, and wherein the third battle condition is not changed during the third term.

GREE alleges that elements (a) through (d) of claim 1 of the ’177 Patent are all infringed by Supercell’s Clash Royale. The ’362 Patent is in many ways similar to the ’177 Patent, and GREE’s arguments that Supercell infringed claim 1 of the ’362 Patent are similar to its arguments regarding infringement of the ’177 Patent.

Supercell filed a Motion to Dismiss GREE’s complaint, arguing that the Asserted Patents were invalid for failure to claim patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. GREE argued that its patents recited are patent-eligible subject matter, and that, in any event, “claim construction is necessary to fully understand the inventive concept and scope of the claim terms in the Asserted Patents.” The Court denied Supercell’s Motion without prejudice.

GREE’s suit against Supercell for infringement of the Asserted Patents is still ongoing, and we will provide updates on interesting developments over the course of the litigation.

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