KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Other music/rhythm games without specific coverage above

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KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by Amp Divorax » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:35 pm

http://kotaku.com/5152731/harmonix-sues ... revolution

Oh, I should quote this particular line: "The Harmonix patent actually cites Konami's other rhythm game Beatmania as an example of a control system that has been improved upon."

(Face contorts into the trademark thousand yard stare of white hot rage) Really? Seriously? Improved upon Beatmania's Control Scheme? You know what, I've heard alot of insane stuff from domestic rhythm gamers, but that.... THAT IS THE BIGGEST CROCK OF FUCKING SHIT EVER AND I HOPE WHOEVER PUT THAT IN THE PATENT GETS FUCKING CASTRATED!!! (Reverts back to regular form.)
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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by MonMotha » Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:04 pm

Patent law (and law in general) does not necessarily use terms you may be familiar with in a manner you expect. In a patent "improves upon" (if they even use that terminology) simply means that the prior invention is different but similar. In other words, the Harmonix patent would be claiming that they know of beatmania and have changed the control system in some way that they feel is patent-worthy. This doesn't necessarily mean it's "better" all-around, only that it's different in such a way that the new method could sometimes have benefits, in this case playing drums/guitar rather than "DJing", and therefore the invention is claimed to be worthy of a patent.

If they do not disclose the relationship with other patented inventions, such as the control methods of beatmania, then their patent could be thrown out on the basis that there is prior art. Other prior art (upon which one is claiming to "improve") generally also needs to be disclosed in a patent, even if it's just "common in the industry" and has no known patent protection in order to prevent legal challenge.

Of course, disclosing a patented process/material as prior art in a patent does not generally allow one to use that patented material for free, even if one is using it in the context of the new patent. If I completely overhaul the sensor design of DDR, but I keep the stage metal design the same, and Konami has patents on that (which I believe they do), then I would have to secure a license to use that portion of Konami's patent in any produt I sell. Of course, I can use my improvements for free, and Konami would have to pay to use them. A common thing to do is cross-license the two patents to allow both parties royalty free use of both sides of the equation. Perhaps Harmonix sought to do this, and Konami declined.

In some cases, one will cite a patent that the new mechanism completely obsoletes. That is, the new mechanism accomplishes the same thing in a wildly different (and hopefully more beneficial, but this is not required for such a new mechanism to be worthy of patent protection) manner. In this case, it would normally not be necessary to license the cited patent when implementing the newly patented material or process. This could be what Harmonix believes they have done, and they think that Konami is now using their patents. You cannot generally be awarded a patent on an end result, only the mechanism for accomplishing that result. Software and "business method" patents have been widely criticized as allowing one to patent an end result, and that is why many oppose them specifically. In other words, it would generally be impossible for Konami to have a patent on "any video game control mechanism wherein the user is required to use the controls in response to a commanded musical rhythm", but rather they would be limited to specific implementations. Modern patent law (since about the early to mid 90s) in the USA has muddied this situation, though, and they could well have one that effectively says just that.

Modern patent law has in fact gotten so bad that, rather than being used for what they were originally intended (a repository of inventions that were publically accessible so that people did not have to "reinvent the wheel" so to speak), most designers/engineers are now told explicitly never to read patents. The reason is that if someone does read a patent, and it is later determined to apply to a final product or process, and it can be shown that somebody involved has seen the patent in question, the infringer could be liable for enhanced damages (usually 3x). Patents these days are commonly worded so obtusely that one may not know what it says when reading it, and one may therefore come up with the same idea effectively independently. It could also be that Harmonix has taken this approach (often referred to as the "head in the sand" approach).

The usual disclaimers: I am not a lawyer. I do not purport to dispense legal advice. If you desire legal advice, you should contact a lawyer. I have also not read any of the patents in question (nor do I desire to), so I could be totally off-base in my analysis.
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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by Fluffyumpkins » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:10 pm

"Konami is violating its own patent for game controllers that simulate musical instruments, one that Harmonix claims is an improvement of earlier video game controllers that simulate musical instruments. The Harmonix patent actually cites Konami's other rhythm game Beatmania as an example of a control system that has been improved upon."

Legality aside, I think Beatmania might least resemble an actual instrument.

I see these sorts of lawsuits flying around all the time in the games industry. Aside from the infamous Konami vs. r0x0r, there usually ends up being a big stink about the suit before it fades into memory. I'm guessing most of them just settle?

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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by Fluffyumpkins » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:18 pm

MonMotha wrote:Patent law (and law in general) does not necessarily use terms you may be familiar with in a manner you expect. In a patent "improves upon" (if they even use that terminology) simply means that the prior invention is different but similar. In other words, the Harmonix patent would be claiming that they know of beatmania and have changed the control system in some way that they feel is patent-worthy. This doesn't necessarily mean it's "better" all-around, only that it's different in such a way that the new method could sometimes have benefits, in this case playing drums/guitar rather than "DJing", and therefore the invention is claimed to be worthy of a patent.

If they do not disclose the relationship with other patented inventions, such as the control methods of beatmania, then their patent could be thrown out on the basis that there is prior art. Other prior art (upon which one is claiming to "improve") generally also needs to be disclosed in a patent, even if it's just "common in the industry" and has no known patent protection in order to prevent legal challenge.

Of course, disclosing a patented process/material as prior art in a patent does not generally allow one to use that patented material for free, even if one is using it in the context of the new patent. If I completely overhaul the sensor design of DDR, but I keep the stage metal design the same, and Konami has patents on that (which I believe they do), then I would have to secure a license to use that portion of Konami's patent in any produt I sell. Of course, I can use my improvements for free, and Konami would have to pay to use them. A common thing to do is cross-license the two patents to allow both parties royalty free use of both sides of the equation. Perhaps Harmonix sought to do this, and Konami declined.

In some cases, one will cite a patent that the new mechanism completely obsoletes. That is, the new mechanism accomplishes the same thing in a wildly different (and hopefully more beneficial, but this is not required for such a new mechanism to be worthy of patent protection) manner. In this case, it would normally not be necessary to license the cited patent when implementing the newly patented material or process. This could be what Harmonix believes they have done, and they think that Konami is now using their patents. You cannot generally be awarded a patent on an end result, only the mechanism for accomplishing that result. Software and "business method" patents have been widely criticized as allowing one to patent an end result, and that is why many oppose them specifically. In other words, it would generally be impossible for Konami to have a patent on "any video game control mechanism wherein the user is required to use the controls in response to a commanded musical rhythm", but rather they would be limited to specific implementations. Modern patent law (since about the early to mid 90s) in the USA has muddied this situation, though, and they could well have one that effectively says just that.

Modern patent law has in fact gotten so bad that, rather than being used for what they were originally intended (a repository of inventions that were publically accessible so that people did not have to "reinvent the wheel" so to speak), most designers/engineers are now told explicitly never to read patents. The reason is that if someone does read a patent, and it is later determined to apply to a final product or process, and it can be shown that somebody involved has seen the patent in question, the infringer could be liable for enhanced damages (usually 3x). Patents these days are commonly worded so obtusely that one may not know what it says when reading it, and one may therefore come up with the same idea effectively independently. It could also be that Harmonix has taken this approach (often referred to as the "head in the sand" approach).

The usual disclaimers: I am not a lawyer. I do not purport to dispense legal advice. If you desire legal advice, you should contact a lawyer. I have also not read any of the patents in question (nor do I desire to), so I could be totally off-base in my analysis.
That's complicated like... trigonometry.


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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by Amp Divorax » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:23 pm

First, this is on the behalf of most of the less nerdy members of this forum. (Sadly, this graphic does not apply to me.)

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Second, the post fails to catch my simple point that the statement they made (regardless of the legal basis) is one that is practically GUARANTEED to get the bullshit flag waived on it.

Third, given my dislike of both Harmonix and Konami's Domestic Operations I hope both sides lose a ton of money fighting this retarded battle and either Rock Band or Rock Revolution gets discontinued as a result.

Last but not least, G.M.D. FOR LIFE BITCHES!!!!
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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by Ho » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:52 am

Fluffyumpkins wrote:That's complicated like... trigonometry.


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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by chocobojoe » Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:31 pm

Beatmania controller sucks.

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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by Amp Divorax » Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:53 pm

chocobojoe wrote:Beatmania controller RULES.
Corrected
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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by WhiteDragon » Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:17 am

Amp Divorax wrote:
chocobojoe wrote:BEATMANIA!!!
Corrected.
Original Sin wrote:Besides, this is IndyDDR...honestly. What do you expect?

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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by chocobojoe » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:31 am

it's just a 6-button fighting game controller with one extra button and a turntable instead of a joystick

capcom should sue konami

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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by Amp Divorax » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:20 am

Street Fighter never used Sanwa Keys and Omron Microswitches.

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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by Merk » Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:41 pm

chocobojoe wrote:Beatmania controller sucks.

Joe I still need your controller! I have twenty dorrar.
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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by chocobojoe » Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:03 pm

And I still has a nice new controller in a box for joo. Are you gonna be in the Fort anytime soon?

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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by seveneleven » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:20 pm


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Re: KONAMI WILL.... Wait what did they say?

Post by Riot » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:58 pm

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