Patents Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Patents RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Has a PS4 wireless adapter for PC been confirmed? Sat, 09 Jul 2016 08:08:36 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

With the Xbox One Elite controller recently surpassing one million units sold, it is a surprise that Sony hasn't tried to create an 'elite' version of the DualShock 4. According to a patent filed last month, it looks like Sony may be interested in creating just such an an upgraded DualShock 4 controller after all.

The patent for the upgraded controller shows a few changes from the DualShock 4 controller that fans are used to. The first change is the placement of the analog sticks, which switched places with the physical buttons. The next change is the size of the touchpad at the top. It seems that this touchpad will be thinner and longer compared to the original. The button directly underneath the touchpad seems to be the PlayStation button that brings up the PlayStation 4 dashboard. The button below that is the share button that was found on the side of the touchpad on the original controller. It allows you to save screenshots and broadcast your game.

When looking at from the backside, we can see the addition of inside panels that similar to those found on the Xbox Elite controllers. 

Another patent that was filed by Sony recently was one for a wireless adapter.

We can assume that the wireless adapter will allow gamers to use their DualShock 4 controller on their PC or Mac for desktop gaming. This is similar to what the Xbox One controllers have.

The patents don't necessarily mean that these products will get made but it's possible the sales of the Xbox One Elite controller convinced Sony that there are fans that are interested in a upgraded controller. Time will tell before we see any more information about these patents. 

Namco's mini-game loading screen patent is up Fri, 27 Nov 2015 12:22:20 -0500 mrivera269

Since 1995, Namco has had exclusive rights to mini-game loading screens. One example of a mini-game loading screen was in the dubious Onechanbara, an action game similar to Dynasty Warrior where bikini-clad women fought hordes of zombies. Needless to say the game was garbage, but it had a clever 2D side-scrolling version of the game you could play during load screens. Namco was able to pull off mini-games in their loading screens for over 20 years.

Until now. As of November 27th, Namco's exclusive patent rights are finally up; thus allowing every other game publisher to encourage mini-game loading screens in future titles by developers.

Mini-game played during Onechanbara load screen

Gone are the days of static load screens, flavor text, or quirky animations. Can you imagine a Fallout 4 loading screen that doesn’t contain rotating 3D-models and pointless lore text but rather a cool mini-game? Developers now have the freedom to make creative loading screens any way they choose. Unless you’re a PC Gamer with an SSD, then you probably haven’t seen a loading screen in quite some time…

What do you guys think of Namco losing its rights to mini-games in loading screens? Sound off on the comments below.

UK Judge Rules in Philips' Favor in Lawsuit Against Nintendo Fri, 20 Jun 2014 18:01:10 -0400 Kibret.Tsige

Earlier this year, tech company Philips brought a lawsuit against Nintendo after the release of the Wii U, claiming that the Japanese company infringed upon two of Philips' patents for motion control.

Apparently, Nintendo was first notified of one patent in 2011 and the two companies had been seeking a licensing agreement but it never worked out. For these patent infringements, Philips seeked damages, along with a ban on the sale, production and import of the Wii U into the United States.  

Nothing has been decided in the US yet but in the UK a judge has ruled in Philips' favor. Judge Colin Birss ruled that the Wii U infringes on two patents for recognizing gestures and motion, stating that:

The common general knowledge did not include a device combining a physical motion sensor with a camera and the reasons advanced by Nintendo for putting those two sensors together in one unit are unconvincing.

Nintendo Needs More Than First-Party Titles to Save the Wii U

Image from

Nintendo has revealed intentions to appeal the court's decision, claiming that the patents are "invalid" and releasing their own statement.

Nintendo is committed to ensuring that this judgment does not affect continued sales of its highly acclaimed line of video game hardware, software and accessories and will actively pursue all such legitimate steps as are necessary to avoid any interruptions to its business.

Wii U sales have been increasing since the release of Mario Kart 8 and after the great reception Nintendo's E3 Conference received the company seems to be on the upswing. If this ruling is upheld and a similar ruling is given in the United States, Nintendo's newfound momentum may dissipate prematurely.

The Problem with Patents and Some Solutions Thu, 14 Mar 2013 11:53:50 -0400 Ste Grainer

First, a disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. My knowledge of the patent industry is limited solely to reading I’ve done over the last 10-15 years and a single college course on intellectual property law.

Patents aren't solely a problem for the video game industry, but they can have a very big impact on the speed of innovation in game hardware and software.

Software patents are a particularly thorny issue because 1) they can be (and often are) ridiculously ambiguous, 2) software as a "medium" has only existed for roughly half a century, 3) large companies keep patent portfolios to insulate themselves from other large companies with patent portfolios, 4) patent trolls purchase large sets of ambiguous patents, don't create jack squat with them, and then sue small entities (indie developers more often than not), and 5) software powers pretty much everything these days.

Most of the points above are self-explanatory, but I want to elaborate on the second a little more. Because the software industry has only existed for roughly half a century, many potential ideas are still new and untested. A patent’s term can last up to 20 years, roughly half of the time that video games as a medium have existed and a third of the time that software as a medium has existed. If an idea is locked up by a patent for twenty years, think how stifling that can be for exploration and innovation.

For a sense of perspective, if the World Wide Web had been patented on its inception, its patent wouldn't have expired until 2011. Think about just how much of the most important technology relies on the open backbone of the web: Google search; streaming video; web applications like Dropbox, Flickr, or Google Docs; social networks like Facebook and Twitter; smartphones; and pretty much every major new publishing/media system of the last decade. Now imagine if those hadn’t existed or were just now starting to bloom.

Enough with the problems, how do we fix it?

Since software patents are already an entrenched system, we can’t do away with them outright. There are certainly things that could and should be done, though.

  1. Staff up or source out. Patents up for review need more eyes to verify that they are legitimate, non-ambiguous, and worthwhile. The USPTO is already woefully understaffed, and many of their clerks are less experienced in software development than your average comp sci graduate. (They’re probably also probably underpaid compared to what an ambitious developer could make.) If there’s no way to pay extra bodies to review these with a more expert eye, then there should be a way to crowdsource the patent review process. Yes, there are quite a few snarls to unweave with that idea, but it *could* in theory be done.
  2. Shorten term lengths for software patents. Moore’s Law stipulates that chip performance doubles roughly every two years. Software improvements rocket along with even greater velocity than the mechanical/chemical industries upon which the patent office was originally founded. Give patentees a grace period of roughly 1 to 2 years to take advantage of their lead, and then it should become public domain. (Hey, it worked for the ancient Greeks.)
  3. Immediately invalidate all obviously ambiguous patents or patents with provable prior art. I’m sorry, but a patent for linking documents is simply ridiculous. As is trying to patent something people had been using for years prior. Don’t reward those who seek to abuse the system.
  4. Require an actual product when patents are used in legislation. If you are suing others on the basis of a patent, but don’t have any product built on that patent, your claim should be considered null and void. The original intent of patents was to reward first creators, not first thinkers. Alternately require patent trolls to cover all defense fees if they lose the case (which they almost always do if it goes to court).

Until some sort of safety mechanisms like these can be put in place, patents will continue to make news as they lead to the opposite results they were originally created to encourage.

Image credit: opensourceway on Flickr

Okay, Game Industry. It's Time. We Need to Talk About Patents. Thu, 14 Mar 2013 02:02:11 -0400 HC Billings

Earlier today, a jury found Nintendo's 3DS console guilty of infringing on a glasses-free three-dimensional screen patent belonging to independent inventor Seijiro Tomita. The resulting fine is about $30 million--a hugely astronomical amount for you and me, but arguably chump change for a company that's easily worth a trillion dollars.

Nintendo is confident that--not only will the jury's decision be made obsolete--but that the resulting fine will not cripple Nintendo in any way:

Nintendo is confident that the result will be set aside. The jury's verdict will not impact Nintendo's continued sales in the United States of its highly acclaimed line of video game hardware, software and accessories, including the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others.

So... wait. What does that mean? We understand the nearly-omnipotent power the big three have over small inventors and developers, but what happens when the status quo tilts to one side and doesn't level off again? Monetarily, trying to cripple Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo is like trying to kill a dragon with a fly-swatter, but has the patent system done more harm than good in the gaming industry?

(For the record, any theoretical discussion herein does not necessarily agree or disagree with the specific result of the Nintendo trail, but rather looks to it as both an example of hypothetical guilt and of innocence a larger intellectual war. )


We've created a system that absolutely stunts independent creation. On the off chance that an inventor produces an entirely new intellectual creation, patents it,  and said invention is infringed upon, the ensuing legal battle could cripple the inventor. And, Nintendo demonstrates, If you have enough cash to pay a guilty  fine, punishment becomes completely arbitrary. 

Do you think intellectual ownership is something that's hurting the gaming industry? One typically doesn't measure an item's worth by how much competition there exists for it on the market. The 3DS, for instance, simply is the 3-D console available for play. It gets the job done, but the job is a self-set standard. 


But in a fantasy scenario where the patent industry had never blossomed, one could assume that the market would be bloated with copycat technology. There would, essentially, be no 'brand name,'  no source of a leading product, no console for developers to group around. The console war would dissolve into total console... soup. 

Conversely, if the patent system simply ceased to exist--if we woke up tomorrow and the entire institution had disappeared overnight--companies on the top of the pyramid wouldn't simply tumble off.  Recognition is nearly as important as patenting when it comes to video game companies; there's a reason why we have a 'big three' to begin with. 

Is there a balance to be found here? Like most things, the idea of patenting is good in theory. But in the end does it help a still-budding industry that's part technology, part entertainment? For instance... how many ways can you think of to create a game controller? I'm not industrial designer, but pretty much anything I can think of has already been made. 


There are a whole slew of potential solutions to the patent problem. In the instance of the video game industry, we've become habituated to the idea of our giants: when somebody comes up against a major game company, we assume there's a right and a wrong.

But in the totally probable event that two groups independently come to the same creative conclusion, how does 'ownership' of an idea come to an end? Do we significantly shorten the length of the patent; do we create a sliding end date that's depends on the level of revenue created by the product? 

What's your take on the patent problem?