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Old 01-17-2008, 12:09 PM
"Tom "spot" Callaway"
 
Default Patent concerns

On Thu, 2008-01-17 at 04:17 -0600, Callum Lerwick wrote:
> On Wed, 2008-01-16 at 14:46 -0500, Tom "spot" Callaway wrote:
> > A game where "targets" move across the screen to a predetermined point
> > or line, where the player hits a button/key/mouse click as the target(s)
> > crosses that point or line, and gets points.
> >
> > This means:
> >
> > No "Guitar Hero" clones.
> > No "Dance Dance Revolution" clones.
>
> You've got to be shitting me.
>
> ... So, how about if the "targets" stay still and the cursor moves? I
> think there's assloads of prior art on that...

No, the patent is pretty darned specific. Its "targets moving in a
straight line" to a "predetermined point or line", and the player having
to hit a button at that precise point or line to get points. If you're
shooting the target, doesn't apply. If there is cursor motion involved,
doesn't apply.

As far as I can tell, only DDR, Guitar Hero, and Donkey Konga games meet
this criteria, and I don't think we have anything like that in Fedora
currently. Am I wrong?

~spot

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Old 01-17-2008, 12:11 PM
"Tom "spot" Callaway"
 
Default Patent concerns

On Thu, 2008-01-17 at 14:15 +0200, Johannes wrote:

> >From the top of my head, Moon Buggy. If you haven't seen it, here's a
> quick description: You can see the left side of a (moon) buggy on the
> right side of the screen and a (moon) surface underneath with pits in
> it that moves from left to right. You control the buggy and have to
> jump over the holes (you can't move left or right, you can just jump).
> So: you have "targets" (pits) that move across the screen and you have
> a predetermined point (buggy) where you have to press a button, so a
> fine piece of prior art if you ask me. It's not very old (Version 1 was
> released in 2004), but it has some ancestry: it's based on a 1982 game
> "Moon Patrol" which, based on screenshots, seems to be quite similar.

I don't think that is sufficient. The patent is pretty clear about the
way to score points is for the player to hit a button to match the
linear moving target when it crosses the point in space. "Jumping" or
"Shooting" doesn't count.

~spot

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Old 01-17-2008, 01:48 PM
"Johannes Dahl"
 
Default Patent concerns

On Jan 17, 2008 3:11 PM, Tom "spot" Callaway wrote:

> I don't think that is sufficient. The patent is pretty clear about the
> way to score points is for the player to hit a button to match the
> linear moving target when it crosses the point in space. "Jumping" or
> "Shooting" doesn't count.

I suppose you might be right. I have another idea, but can you first
tell us when and to whom was the patent issued?

Johannes

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Old 01-17-2008, 02:10 PM
"Free Gamer"
 
Default Patent concerns

I appreciate the concern over patents here, but at the same time I'm
pretty sure that the Linux kernel infringes on a whole bunch of
patents - when are you going to remove that?

I'm serious.

- C

On Jan 17, 2008 2:48 PM, Johannes Dahl <muusik@gmail.com> wrote:
> I suppose you might be right. I have another idea, but can you first
> tell us when and to whom was the patent issued?

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Old 01-17-2008, 02:17 PM
"Free Gamer"
 
Default Patent concerns

My rather facetious point is that there is a whole bunch of
unenforceable patents out there in what is a rather rubbish system
that it's dire need of reform.

It's ridiculous that you can patent a gameplay style. In any other
western country that patent would not be granted.

Not abusing trademarks is one thing, but being forced to tip toe
around issues like incredulous patents is a slap in the face. So,
only that company is allowed to make that type of game, a style that's
been around for decades before them?

I can understand Red Hat's corporate stance, but surely there's a
moral one here to and just caving in to a bit of legal strong arming
is not setting out what Red Hat is about, a company that has
traditionally operated on strong moral principles.

- C

On Jan 17, 2008 3:10 PM, Free Gamer <freegamerblog@gmail.com> wrote:
> I appreciate the concern over patents here, but at the same time I'm
> pretty sure that the Linux kernel infringes on a whole bunch of
> patents - when are you going to remove that?
>
> I'm serious.
>
> - C

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Old 01-17-2008, 02:18 PM
"Tom "spot" Callaway"
 
Default Patent concerns

On Thu, 2008-01-17 at 15:10 +0000, Free Gamer wrote:
> I appreciate the concern over patents here, but at the same time I'm
> pretty sure that the Linux kernel infringes on a whole bunch of
> patents - when are you going to remove that?
>
> I'm serious.

Pretty sure doesn't cut it. If you have specific patent concerns around
the Linux kernel, feel free to contact me offlist.

~spot

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Old 01-17-2008, 02:24 PM
"Tom "spot" Callaway"
 
Default Patent concerns

On Thu, 2008-01-17 at 15:17 +0000, Free Gamer wrote:
> It's ridiculous that you can patent a gameplay style. In any other
> western country that patent would not be granted.
>
> Not abusing trademarks is one thing, but being forced to tip toe
> around issues like incredulous patents is a slap in the face. So,
> only that company is allowed to make that type of game, a style that's
> been around for decades before them?

Yes, I agree, it is ridiculous. However, these are the times in which we
live, and Red Hat has decided to not take a risk around this patent set.

The owner of this particular patent is aggressively licensing it to
other people, so they see a huge value in it, and would likely go out of
their way to defend its use (especially against an entity with plenty of
money in the bank).

~spot

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Old 01-17-2008, 02:26 PM
"Tom "spot" Callaway"
 
Default Patent concerns

On Thu, 2008-01-17 at 15:17 +0000, Free Gamer wrote:
> I can understand Red Hat's corporate stance, but surely there's a
> moral one here to and just caving in to a bit of legal strong arming
> is not setting out what Red Hat is about, a company that has
> traditionally operated on strong moral principles.

One of those "strong moral principles" is:

- Don't infringe on other people's patents, no matter how ludicrous.

When Fedora is made aware of patents that we may be infringing upon, we
act on that, with the aid of legal counsel. This is the decision that
our patent lawyers have given us.

The only recourse available is to find prior art and make a case to the
US Patent Office, to try to have the patent invalidated.

~spot

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Old 01-17-2008, 02:33 PM
"Tom "spot" Callaway"
 
Default Patent concerns

On Thu, 2008-01-17 at 16:48 +0200, Johannes Dahl wrote:
> On Jan 17, 2008 3:11 PM, Tom "spot" Callaway wrote:
>
> > I don't think that is sufficient. The patent is pretty clear about the
> > way to score points is for the player to hit a button to match the
> > linear moving target when it crosses the point in space. "Jumping" or
> > "Shooting" doesn't count.
>
> I suppose you might be right. I have another idea, but can you first
> tell us when and to whom was the patent issued?

I'll be explicit:

Read this:
http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=16014

The primary patent of concern is US 6347998, held by Konami.

In addition, Harmonix seems to hold patents directly related:
http://www.patentstorm.us/assignees/Harmonix_Music_Systems,_Inc_-88927-1.html

Good luck.

~spot

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Old 01-18-2008, 01:11 AM
Callum Lerwick
 
Default Patent concerns

On Thu, 2008-01-17 at 08:09 -0500, Tom "spot" Callaway wrote:
> > ... So, how about if the "targets" stay still and the cursor moves? I
> > think there's assloads of prior art on that...
>
> No, the patent is pretty darned specific. Its "targets moving in a
> straight line" to a "predetermined point or line", and the player having
> to hit a button at that precise point or line to get points. If you're
> shooting the target, doesn't apply. If there is cursor motion involved,
> doesn't apply.

Hmmm. Basically I've been tossing around the idea of developing piano
tutor software, that has the visual flair and interest of DDR and Guitar
Hero and whatnot, but actually teaches you to play piano and sight read
music notation.

I found something along the lines of what I'm thinking:
http://www.synthesiagame.com/

However it seems its not portable, and is going closed source, and
originally did not have the goal of teaching notation. That is
apparently a pay feature... Really doesn't sound worth salvaging to me.

I was thinking this would be an excuse to do something in python... I
suppose if I ever actually do this, I'll have to remember to duck this
patent somehow... :P
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