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This topic contains 23 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Steph 12 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #4773

    mal
    Participant

    Overview
    http://www.cmpevents.com/GD06/a.asp?option=C&V=11&SessID=1555

    Actual Patent

    Link

    > moving direction indicating method

    Hmmm… a 3D arrow pointing to the next checkpoint. Highly patentable. It is interesting noting the language used to describe the simple gameplay mechanic, in order to pass the patent.

    We have recently been asked to apply for a patent for our art gallery builder application ( a few potentially unique points were thrown up ), something that I personally refused to do mainly out of principal.

    It’ll be interesting to hear others thoughts on patents etc, especially if you have been involved with patent discussions, and have / haven’t went down that route.

    Mal

  • #27165

    gizmo
    Participant

    Now while I havnt had any experience in patents, obviously, there was always one patent which boogled my mind…
    US Patent #20030221541, Microsofts attempt to patent their new way of populating your playlist with songs of the type you enjoy and listen to the most. Basically if you listen to X band or X genre most it will begin to dynamically populate your playlist with more of those types of songs…
    My main gripe with it is that its a pretty basic idea and one which anyone and everyone has thought of at some point, hence why patent it? Then again I could be missing the point on this one…:?

    Link

  • #27169

    kyotokid
    Keymaster

    As far as I am aware, most developers are ignoring the patent. The theory is that there will be too many developers for sega to chase.

    Imo, patenting this sort of thing is a bit stupid.

    If I remember correctly, a few years back sega won a court case against Atari for the use of the camera buttons (that featured from virtua racing onwards).

    Nintendo patented (or applied for) the sanity effects seen in Eternal Darkness, this is another example of a BAD THING.

  • #27172

    Darksaviour69
    Participant

    nintendo have a patent for…wait for it ….side scrolling! (mario)
    sega hold a patent for ….. 3D!! (well changing you view e.g. virtua racing)
    there is loads of crap like this, but at this stage none of the patents are inforced. all the big companies has there own patent that other big companies are breaking… kind of like a cold war sort of think….just in case

    more stupid patents
    http://www.eff.org/patent/

  • #27179

    Steph
    Participant

    We have recently been asked to apply for a patent for our art gallery builder application ( a few potentially unique points were thrown up ), something that I personally refused to do mainly out of principle[/quote:982ca42296]

    Two things from the off: (i) who asked you to obatin patent protection ? (if this may be answered in a public Forum, naturally) and (ii) that’s an enviable position to be in (to be able to refuse -say, your backers- on matters of principle).

    It’ll be interesting to hear others thoughts on patents etc, especially if you have been involved with patent discussions, and have / haven’t went down that route.

    Mal[/quote:982ca42296]

    I’ll be likewise interested in thoughts and opinions, but will not (yet) provide any, having already made ample contributions in the Forum on the subject.

    As an aside, noting the other thread about MoCap in Trinity and the allusions to FilmBox/MoBuilder, you’d be surprised how patents Kaydara has applied for so far (did a fair few of those myself) – to date and insofar as VGs are concerned, patents have been the preserve of ‘tech’ (middleware) developers, not ‘art’ (games) developers, justifiably so.

    However, a long-standing contention of mine has been that whilst patents were irrelevant to game development in earlier times (up to a point), they are becoming increasingly relevant because of the amount of tech and money involved in producing a single game, and the technical convergence of the tools across multiple media (games/broadcast/film). Fact of business, not of morals or principles.

  • #27180

    Skyclad
    Participant

    We have recently been asked to apply for a patent for our art gallery builder application ( a few potentially unique points were thrown up ), something that I personally refused to do mainly out of principal.[/quote:3e1163e392]
    Are you potentially staking the success of your product on a distaste for certain business practices? Personally I would prefer that patents were much mor elimited in their availability, but given the way businesses operate, I dont see anything morally objectionable by using hte rules to your advantage.

    Dave

  • #27188

    mal
    Participant

    > We have recently been asked to apply for a patent for our art gallery builder application ( a few potentially unique points were thrown up ), something that I personally refused to do mainly out of principal.

    The question was regarding unique, yet probably obvious, techniques we have used in creating our art gallery creator software.

    A lot of investors seem to prefer it if a company has patented something ( possibly due to larger companies purchasing the patent / company with patent at a later date ).

    When asked if we had applied for one, I mentioned no. When pushed further to see if a patent could be applied for, I briefly summarised ( in a nice fashion ) the thoughts of many software developers… that software patents are, basically, wrong. Professionally, morally, creatively.

    But, from an investors point of view, they can potentially make you more money, which is the crux of the problem I suppose.

    They aren’t too cheap neither!
    Mal

  • #27195

    lk_
    Participant

    Unfortunately Mal morality seems to be a commodity not everyone has in business. As Skyclad said, its better to have the devil on your side side than against you. We’ve all seen companies make money off of ideas formed and nurtured by smaller companies. I’m a firm believer in that you get what you earned, you guys have come up with a fantastic product, I only hope its you guys that see the dividends.

  • #27196

    Skyclad
    Participant

    Do people (Mal in particular) actually think it is immoral to patent something? Not just distasteful, but immoral?

  • #27197

    lk_
    Participant

    Not if its protecting your work/idea no. There are many patents though which are beyond silly. I can understand the whole sharing of knowledge, but in the end if someone uses that knowledge to create wealth without crediting the source is that moral?

  • #27199

    Steph
    Participant
  • #27238

    mal
    Participant
  • #27239

    Steph
    Participant

    With all the discussion on the igda site regarding patents (…) I (…) would therefore not want to say that creative software patents are wrong, and then on the other nand turn around and apply for a patent.[/quote:3c4217f4a6]

    To begin with, a fair proportion of the discussions on the IGDA site are very misinformed, or rather ‘mis-focused’, where patents are concerned: the opinions are laudable in an artistic (even philantropist) sense (which mirrors your stance on ‘principles’), but seriously lack any business acumen. In other words: they see patents in the librarian/litteral sense of the legal concept, e.g. “I own patent, I can do/ you can’t unless you take a license”.

    That’s so far from the real world as to be laughable, but not so easily conveyed to people not versed into including legal tools (including, but not only, patents) in their business model and either sold to the OSS propaganda and/or blinkered by the illusion that principles of fairness will apply in a capitalistic economic model where anything (legal) goes to obtain & sustain the competitive advantage.

    For instance, a lot of IGDA discussions’ contributors have previously pushed for the IGDA to take a stance on software patents, namely they’re bad and the IGDA should push to revoke each and every one as they surface, or at the very least centralize prior art made available to developers for invalidating those as & when needed. None of this is going to happen, because the IGDA Powers That Be have enough acumen to know that and (i) the case for or against software patents has never been and never will be open-&-shut, since a business situation warranting a patent portfolio for one developer/member may run totally contraflow to the business situation of another developer/member (and potentially impact same in one way or another) and (ii) some of their more influential corporate members (and generous sponsors) are very active in the field of software patents.

    There is no such thing in law (or business) as a ‘creative software patent’. There’s a software patent, or no patent (to be construed as an abandoned application for a patent, or OSS) – period.

    While we are using some techniques that haven’t really been done before successfully, I don’t really think it is unique enough to patent.[/quote:3c4217f4a6]

    No further comment about the patentability (or otherwise) of whatever your tech is. As I have (obliquely) stated, it’s nice to have a real invention to patent, but that’s irrelevant if there’s no opportunity (the ‘business case’ if you want) to go the patent route. Assessing this opportunity is a whole different ball game, and *generally* amounts to determining (i) why you want a patent and (ii) is the expense worth the end game.

    Also, proving that prior art doesn’t exist can be very difficult. [/quote:3c4217f4a6]

    And proving that prior art does exist can be just as difficult and expensive, if not more – depends who puts the onus on whom to do which searching and when. You can quote me on that :wink:

    Note that my comments have been expressed in the context of the business case for software software patents, which applies irrespectively of the field of software development. That’s another issue to consider, and hinted at before when I made a distinction between middleware developers (who sell ‘tech’) and ‘pure’ game developers (who don’t sell ‘tech’, but ‘art’/’media’/…well…’games’) :)

  • #27240

    mal
    Participant

    This is becoming a very interesting exchange of views :)

    For me, the onus is on sticking with my beliefs, especially in the context of software patents and interactive 3D content ( games / art galleries / similar interactive environments ), where creators of similar products will, by default, use similar techniques to reach a similar goal.

    If an investor wanted a patent as a pre-requisite for investing a substantial figure into a project, then I would let them know my thoughts, and also let them know that, if they required it, they could do the prior art search themselves, and foot the bill for it ( to translate slightly, let’s call this part of their due diligence costings, essential to evaluate the feasibility of investment in the project ).

    Steph, your comments make very interesting reading ( I’m sure we’ll have a chance for a more lingual debate over a few pints at the next shindig I get down to ), and if a patent search / process was to go ahead, I’d definitely recommend you to the persons dealing with it, as an obvious expert in the field ( you have previously posted about digital media projects you were involved with, and so have both a games industry knowledge, as well as the legal skills and experience to back it up ).

    However, that would definitely not stop me voicing my opinions to them regarding patenting any technologies in this software field, and more specifically in the area of automated 3D art gallery generation that I’m working on.

    Mal

  • #27241

    Pete
    Participant

    I’m sure we’ll have a chance for a more lingual debate over a few pints at the next shindig I get down to [/quote:d0f415a1a8]
    Reckon you’ll make the Chrimbo Shindo so??

  • #27242

    mal
    Participant

    Does a bear in the woods wipe it’s arse with a rabbit?

    I’ll definitely try to get down. Is the Torc chopper passing through Belfast? :)

    Regards…
    Mal

  • #27244

    Pete
    Participant

    I’m gonna be in Belfast in December, dunno exactly when though, I’ll give you a bell when i have more details and we might go and have a glass of sherry.

  • #27247

    mal
    Participant

    Sherry? One prefers a tinkle of mulled wine ones self :)

    If you’re in Belfast, definitely drop me a line!

    Regarding patents, it seems that Apple are filing one, that could have a link in with various emulators running on non-native hardware.

    http://news.com.com/Apple+tries+to+patent+tamper-resistant+software/2100-1045_3-5942107.html?tag=cd.hed

    Mal

  • #27248

    Steph
    Participant

    Not enough data. Could be absolutely anything, e.g.

    “Apple describes a means of securing code using either a specific hardware address or read-only memory (ROM) serial number.”[/quote:cec907def0]

    e.g. (amongst very many other possibilities I’m sure), I believe M’Soft and consorts (hardware m’facturer: HP, Samsung, etc) were doing that with WinCE embedded devices back in the *very old* days, and still…

    They (Apple) themselves might have been doing that with their Newton back in the day, too (I think it was embedded, was it?)…

    Apple also talks about securing the code while interchanging information among multiple operating systems.[/quote:cec907def0]

    Now that’s a bit more interesting, as otherwise they’d have had trouble (at least in Europe) with respect to the legal requirements and consequences of ‘inter-operability’… <snip> Link.

    Mac OS X, Windows and Linux are called out specifically in the filing.[/quote:cec907def0]

    That will be US standards of disclosure requirements. Nothing groundbreaking about that: I regularly ‘call out’ Mac/Lux/Win in patent specifications (say, in terms of an invention working under any/or as an OS), as does any other patent specialist worth his/her salt… Much ado about nothing :wink:

    EDIT – after a quick diagonal read, they have claims directed at the OSs, but no explicit support in the description for those. So they would not be able to prosecute (obtaing grant for-) these claims in Europe, under current European Patent practice (US drafting standards a tad sloppy here, a common problem).

    On a side note, it’s pretty short-sighted to devise claim limitations for the commercial denomination of OSs, as those might change within time, well before the expiry of the patent term (20 years). ‘Windows’ changes to ‘Vista’ in 2007? Well, the relevant claims would not cover a Vista embodiment. There ya go.

    “code obfuscation” – seen this before in a number of software development fields, e.g. concerned with security in distribution of data structures (e.g. files) in iterative form (i.e. successive versions of an alpha, being worked upon by various people remote from one another).

    The claims of a patent is what matters, nothing else: as intimated above and in general terms, they’re pretty crap alright :twisted:

    @mal – get back to you real soon, enjoying this very much (and hoping the December ‘dig will be pre-23rd, as I’m already buggered for the November one :cry: )

  • #27294

    stevec_havok
    Participant

    Note that my comments have been expressed in the context of the business case for software software patents, which applies irrespectively of the field of software development. That’s another issue to consider, and hinted at before when I made a distinction between middleware developers (who sell ‘tech’) and ‘pure’ game developers (who don’t sell ‘tech’, but ‘art’/’media’/…well…’games’) :)[/quote:751b27d8f4]

    My take on patents is that there are 2 takes:

    1st – patents are basically another form of business currency. As long as there is a degree of legislative support for them, they have value, therefore businesses will exploit them (just as they would exploit a tax law). This is independent of whether they are good or bad (like taxes).

    2nd – the argument about whether software patents are good and bad, which is completely separate from the business case of using them or not using them ultimately boils down to a definition of novelty and the level at which novelty becomes an item of value that has an associated rightful ownership. Basically this is impossible to define in black & white, therefore the line drawn will always represent some compromise (usually heavily politically and economically motivated).

    Finally I might add that patents as a currency are more akin to a barter system implemented as a big game of chicken. You’re never sure what you have is valuable, you sure as heck are less sure that what they have is valuable and its the person willing to confidently stick with it to the end that has best chance of succeeding.

    As far as investors go, patents are primarily a way of determining that someone somewhere (i.e. patent investigator) has placed value on an IP independently of the promoter, and also that the promoter has placed enough value on the IP to secure the patent in the first place and that at least the promoter has at least one card to deal in the game of IP wars.

    Steve

  • #27296

    Steph
    Participant
  • #27309

    stevec_havok
    Participant
  • #27313

    mal
    Participant

    Amazon patents…. wait for it…. Customer Reviews!!!

    http://www.internetnews.com/ec-news/article.php/3563396

    Remember BT patenting hyperlinks?

    Here’s the type of link they thought they had the patent for…

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/06/19/bt_claims_ownership_of_hyperlinks/

    And now it’s safe to click this hyperlink below, as they lost…

    http://slashdot.org/yro/02/08/22/2213208.shtml?tid=155

    Mal

  • #27322

    Steph
    Participant

    (…)

    Mal[/quote:1908631ba4]

    Hate to point the obvious to you, but you forgot the One-Click patent in that lot :twisted:

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