On July 10, 2018, Infernal Technology and Terminal Reality (Infernal) filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas alleging that Crytek GmbH (Crytek) infringed upon U.S. Patent Nos. 6,362,822 (the ‘822 Patent) and 7,061,488 (the ‘488 Patent). The two patents relate to lighting and shadowing methods in computer graphic simulations.
Image from the ‘822 Patent, Fig. 2.
Claim 1 of the ‘822 Patent reads:
A shadow rendering method for use in a computer system, the method comprising the steps of:
providing observer data of a simulated multi-dimensional scene;
providing lighting data associated with a plurality of simulated light sources arranged to illuminate said scene, said lighting data including light image data;
for each of said plurality of light sources, comparing at least a portion of said observer data with at least a portion of said light data to determine if a modeled point within storing at least a portion of said light image data associated with said point and said light source in a light accumulation buffer; and then
combining at least a portion of said light accumulation buffer with said observer data; and
displaying resulting image data to a computer screen. (‘822 patent, col 12, lines 4-21).
Infernal claims that Crytek’s utilization of video game engine “CryEngine” allegedly infringes the asserted patents. According to the Complaint, Crytek used the allegedly infringing game engine to develop the Crysis series, Warface, Ryse: Son of Rome, The Climb, and Robinson: The Journey.
Typically, the next step for a defendant in this situation is to petition the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for an Inter Partes Review (IPR), but the ‘822 and ‘488 Patents have already survived an IPR because of earlier litigation. In 2015, Infernal sued Electronic Arts for patent infringement. EA responded by petitioning the PTAB for an IPR; however, the PTAB found the ‘822 and ‘488 Patents to be “Not Unpatentable.” EA settled the lawsuit after the PTAB’s decision. Crytek can still petition for an IPR of the asserted patents, but will likely have to use different prior art that the art used by EA or provide a good reason why the Board got it wrong the first time around.
If this seems like deja vu that is because Infernal filed complaints similar to the Crytek Complaint against Microsoft in April and against Activision Blizzard in May. To read our blog post on the Microsoft case click here. We will continue to monitor all three of these cases and provide updates when possible.