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Impulse Technology sues for Kinect patent infringement

by Andrew Yoon, Jul 22, 2011 2:15pm PDT
Related Topics – xbox 360, Microsoft, Kinect, PC, lawsuit

Ohio-based Impulse Technology Ltd. has sued Microsoft, and a number of third party publishers, for alleged patent infringement. According to the court filing (via Patent Arcade), Impulse holds a number of patents that cover a "wide variety of games where the movement of a player is tracked in three dimensions." Like Kinect, its patents supposedly cover "tracking of the player done by use of a camera."

In addition to Microsoft, the company has filed suit with Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, THQ, Konami, Sega, Majeeso, Namco Bandai and Harmonix, claiming that the following games infringe upon their patents: Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures, Kinect Joy Ride, Kinectimals, EA Sports Active 2.0, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, MotionSports, Michael Jackson: The Experience, Fighters Uncaged, The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout, Fantastic Pets, UFC Trainer, Dance Paradise, DECA Sports Freedom, Dance Masters, Virtua Tennis 4, Sonic Free Riders, Zumba Fitness, Body and Brain Connection, and Dance Central.

Whew. While patent-related cases in the gaming industry are not uncommon, it's rare to see one that includes as many defendants as this one. Impulse is seeking an injunction on all of these companies and products, and is seeking "monetary damages in an amount to be determined."

Focal to the case are a variety of patents registered to Impulse: 6,308,565; 6,430,997; 6,749,432; 6,765,726; 6,876,496; 7,359,121; and 7,791,808.

From Patent #7,791,808

The original patent is meant primarily for sporting applications, however the diagrams do show some similarities between Kinect and Impulse's original patent. The real question will come into the implementation of the technologies: lawyers will have to point out if Kinect makes motion gaming possible in a different way than it is implemented in Impulse's design.




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