Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

August 26, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Capcom is suing fellow Japanese developer and publisher Koei Tecmo for allegedly infringing on a number of its patents, according to a Sankei report translated by Siliconera. The patents relate to letting players in a new game import or unlock content from an older title and the use of a controller vibration to alert players of nearby enemies.

According to Capcom's lawsuit, at least 50 Koei Tecmo titles infringe on its patents. Capcom is seeking ¥980 million (or $9.43 million) in damages, which is apparently equivalent to a licensing fee of around 10 percent of what Capcom claims Koei Tecmo has profited by engaging in infringement. Capcom is also seeking an injunction on the sale of a number of Koei Tecmo's titles.

Source: GII


Comments

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

I know it is an older example, but what about Metal Gear Solid (1998) when it would access the game saves to modify, or "access" the scenes with Psycho Mantis? These required reading game saves from previous titles to modify how the game played. Sony themselves allowed something like this for Gran Turismo 2 (1999) as well since you could import your data from the first GT.

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Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

KoeiTecmo should counter sue over Sengoku Basara then!

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

Let's just hope that whoever patented savegames never crawls out of his hole.

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

Patent trolling, the last desperate attempt of a developer just teetering on the edge of destruction.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

From the Gamasutra report:

"The full details of the patent in question are yet unclear, but it's likely that Capcom is referring to the disc-based expansion packs available for some Koei Tecmo PlayStation titles."

If this is true, how is this different from multi-disc games from that same era? If it makes sense to use the same save file for multiple discs in a single game, why would it not be obvious to a game developer to do the same for multiple game releases?

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

The patents relate to letting players in a new game import or unlock content from an older title and the use of a controller vibration to alert players of nearby enemies.

I can think of at least 3 different games that did either of these things.

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

The question is, do they predate Capcom's patent applications?

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

Importing saves from prior games has been around at least as long as the Quest for Glory series. The same goes for content exclusive to imported data: the Paladin class is content exclusive to imported characters from QfG3 onward.

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

Oh I know. Baldur's Gate had it between 1 and 2. So it has been around for a long time. Apparently this patent dates back to 2002, and Baldur's Gate alone dates to 2000.

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

Oh, save game import has been around longer than that. Ultima did that, and I think Bard's Tale did it too. It was a big thing during the golden age of CRPGs.

---You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

At this point I don't even care if they predate, this isn't a novel idea, it's a natural progression of being able to save data.  Why do you save data? For later consumption... That's the point of it who cares if it's being accessed by a different program..  There's precedent for saying that savegame editors already did this, along with Cheat-editors etc.  You can even make the argument that successive releases of Office software have been doing this from the 80s and the only difference is usage type.  This is a game, as opposed to iterative design on an office application, but the usage is trivial in this case, the effect is the same, you can import your work from a previous application into the current version with all of the upgrades and features of the new software.

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

Yes. However, the patent office requires proof that such a concept was "obvious" prior to the application being filed. This can be a game that uses save importing, or a white paper that discusses it or a variety of other things. The key is that such things need to be documented and made public. 

If there were no games that used that feature prior to the application and no publicly available documents about it, Capcom could still have a valid patent. However, that seems highly unlikely. From what it looks like, Capcom was the only one greedy enough to file for the patent.

Re: Capcom Sues Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement

I'm surprised then that Capcom haven't gone crazy over Namco using this concept back in 2002 -2004 for the dot hack games which allowed you to use save files from one game to continue with the next in the series of 4.  This was for PS2.

 
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