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Thread: Thoughts About Copying in Gaming, and Why Nobody is Suing Others

  1. #1

    Thoughts About Copying in Gaming, and Why Nobody is Suing Others

    Also remember that Sony ran into legal problems with Microsoft about having live-playing music in the background of the PS3.
    Also, remember this:
    Know also that there are patents in the field of controller design:
    I would assume that getting as broad as dictating what buttons can do what action (or a control set) is just not granular enough to be patented. It’s unspecific. Furthermore, what kind of damages are you going to claim for something that’s as simple as a control scheme. It’s not really a trade-dress argument, for instance. Also, imagine the amount of prior art to illustrate a game like a FPS, it would be massive. Massive enough that your request for patent would likely be denied.
    Then again, consider some of these old patents and their engagement with the industry:

  2. #2
    I will also add that the console publishers would strongly discourage it. The OP is comparing Samsung vs Apple to game makers like EA vs Activision when it’s more like Flipboard vs Pulse.
    I don’t know the legality of it, but I would assume that any platform developer can say ‘Hey, you sue over certain features and we won’t give you a license to develop’ as long as they’re not a monopoly (and with three popular consoles, not including PCs and Macs and Linux and smartphones and tablets, there are no gaming monopolies).
    This reminds me of the ‘pull-to’refresh’ feature in the official Twitter app. Yes, they said they would never sue over it, but even if they wanted to, I think Apple would be able to discourage it by disallowing the app. They certainly have denied others for less reasons.
    But once again, I don’t know if that would be legal or not.

  3. #3
    great… just wrote a huge post only to have safari (thanks mountain lion!) crash and lose it all! FFS.
    my point was that basically, looking back at racing games of the past, they’ve always maintained the same mechanics. eg. “x” for accelerate and “square” for braking (playstation). it was so frustrating when companies like EA would release a game with entirely different mechanics (eg. R1 as accelerate). i mean how newb is that setup?! ADD IN THE FACT that you couldn’t even configure it! (case in point – need for speed franchise)
    so, companies have always maintained a certain “standard” when it comes to button configurations & mechanics. on thing that’s always puzzled me is, how microsoft got away with blatantly ripping off the dreamcast controller for its original xbox. man i hate the xbrick.

    on the topic of lawsuits, the company that should be sued into oblivion is zynga. they’re entire fortune was built out of basically carbon copying anything and everything.

  4. #4
    Remember LG getting the sale of Xbox 360 stopped in Europe? All the gaming companies know they’re dealing with lawsuits all the time. Obviously people are suing each other in gaming. Its just not sexy enough to dwell on. I’ve always suspected legal caution or sabre-rattling behind Apple not including a vibration feature in iPod Touch devices. The phone has an excuse (phones have had vibration motors for a long time), but the non-phone devices don’t have that defence. Someone with a vibration-shock/feedback patent would love to jump on that type of lawsuit, as has happened with Sony and Immersion.
    I just think we’re at an interesting flashpoint in history, where one company knew it had put together a revolutionary product, and set out to lock down numerous pieces of IP before it became widespread in the consumer market (which is smart chess). I get the distinct impression, that this effort was as much about appreciating their expected success going to market, as it was about appreciating the litigation competitors would lodge against them.
    Just look how the mobile firefighting on patents really started rising into something serious… EMC sues Apple in Nov. 2008 related to wireless device navigation. Then Nokia sues Apple in Oct. 2009 over a handful of patents (primarily because Apple refused to make cross-licensing part of its deal on FRAND licensing from Nokia). Then Kodak sued Apple in Jan. 2010 over digital imaging. Next Élan sued Apple in March 2010 for touch input. And, finally… as the Nokia vs Apple fight got bloody… Apple finally decided it was time… and in March 2010, they sued HTC. Then Apple got sued by Motorola that October. After numerous suits and counter suits and settlements… Apple gave its biggest hardware partner the hairy eyeball, and sued Samsung in April 2011.
    It’s very telling, to me, how this all went down. Apple has been sued by numerous other players too. Another notable lawsuit was for Apple’s touchscreen virtual keyboard back in August 2007, where SP Technologies claimed that they’d patented modal virtual keyboards, like the one in Apple’s new iPhone. Even through this year, Apple has weathered numerous legal storms around its technology and has kept moving the ball forward whether its about Siri or iCloud or video compression.
    It’s a bizarre thing to me, that people think that until Apple came along, no one in mobile was suing anyone for stealing their inventions. That somehow, Apple was just a cry-baby because someone copied its unremarkable creation and they could stand competition. Instead, I see a very shrewd company that has held itself back at all the right times. Apple isn’t even interested in licensing its technology. They just don’t want to be the maker of Velcro wallets that get knocked off a week after bringing them to market, meanwhile being sued by 5 other guys simply for daring to put it all together into something people like.
    It’s strange to me that anyone thought Apple should remain relatively docile indefinitely.

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