Motiva Patents, LLC v. Sony Corporation et al
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
Docket Number: 9-18-cv-00180, filed October 3, 2018


Motiva Patents, LLC v. HTC Corporation
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
Docket Number: 9-18-cv-00179, filed October 3, 2018


Motiva Patents, LLC v. Facebook Technologies LLC f/k/a Oculus VR, LLC
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
Docket Number: 9-18-cv-00178, filed October 3, 2018

On October 3, 2018, Motiva Patents (Motiva) filed three lawsuits against Sony PlayStation, HTC Corp., and Oculus VR claiming the three companies infringed upon five Motiva patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 7,292,151 (the ‘151 Patent), 7,952,483 (the ‘483 Patent), 8,159,354 (the ‘354 Patent), 8,427,325 (the ‘325 Patent), and 9,427,659 (the ‘659 Patent). The asserted patents all describe systems for tracking a user’s movement, positioning, and/or orientation by using one or more hand-held transponders that are in communication with a processing system. According to the complaint, the defendants have directly infringed by making and selling the PlayStation VR, Vive, and Oculus Rift with hand-held controllers that also track motion. Also, the complaint alleges the defendants indirectly infringe the asserted patents by inducing third-parties to directly infringe the patents. Motiva is asking the court for a permanent injunction or ongoing royalties for future infringements plus money damages for past infringements.

Claim 1 of the ‘151 Patent reads:

1. A system for tracking movement of a user, comprising:
a first communication device comprising a transmitter for transmitting signals, a receiver for receiving signals and an output device, said first communication device adapted to be hand-held;
a processing system, remote from the first communication device, for wirelessly receiving said transmitted signals from said first communication device, said processing system adapted to determine movement information for said first communication device and sending data signals to said first communication device for providing feedback or control data; and
wherein said first communication device receives and processes said data signals from said processing system and wherein the output device provides sensory stimuli according to the received data signals. (‘151 patent, col. 35, line 39-54).

The current trio of cases is not the first time Motiva has gone after a video game company for using a motion tracking controller. In 2008, Motiva claimed Nintendo’s Wii Fit infringed the ‘151 Patent. In that case, only the ‘151 Patent was asserted against Nintendo. The case eventually found its way to ITC because Motiva alleged Nintendo had violated section 337 by importing infringing products. The administrative law judge found there was no violation of section 337 and terminated the ITC proceeding on January 4, 2012. After the ITC’s decision, the two parties settled the original lawsuit in 2014. For more information on Motiva v. Nintendo and the ITC proceedings click here and here.

Motiva’s lawsuits against Sony, HTC, and Oculus has just begun. Most likely, the defendants next step is to petition the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to institute Inter Partes Review proceedings on the asserted patents. We will continue to follow these cases and provide updates when available.

P.S. Check out Johnny Lee’s video on head tracking using a Nintendo Wii back in 2007.  It doesn’t beat the patents’ earliest priority date, but it just goes to show this has been going on a long time.