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Microsoft & other game companies win out in camera patent lawsuit

A Federal court has denied inventor Richard J. Baker's appeal of the 'nah' ruling made in a patent infringement lawsuit he filed last year against Microsoft, Nintendo, and other game companies.

A Federal court has denied Australian inventor Richard J. Baker's appeal of the ruling made in a patent infringement lawsuit he filed in Washington state last January against Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, and other game companies.

Baker alleged that the companies' products were infringing on his patent for an instructional device that, crucially, relies on a camera capturing visuals and transmitting those visuals to a remote computer -- much like, say, a Kinect.

Last summer the court moved to dismiss the case, filing a decision which noted that "Baker shall take nothing on his claims against defendants and his claims against defendants are dismissed with prejudice."

Baker then appealed to a higher court, which this week filed its own "no" decision and offered some more insight into why Baker's patent was determined to be uninfringed. One of the key bits, according to Patent Arcade, is Baker's use of the term "remote" to describe where the computer receiving the visual data is in relation to the camera itself.

Intriguingly, according to the appeal court's decision, Baker only added the descriptor "remote" during the initial lawsuit, when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office determined that his patent as originally worded was anticipated by an existing patent -- i.e. it wasn't necessarily novel enough to merit its own patent.

The Washington court ultimately determined that products like the Kinect don't qualify as "remote" since they're meant to be in the same room as the Xbox they're hooked up to, and now the appeals court has agreed.

"We agree that Appellees' accused products do not literally infringe," the court's decision reads. "Rather than incorporating two remote, computer-like devices (plus a peripheral camera) as required by the claims, we observe—and Mr. Baker appears to concede—that the accused products only employ a single game console or personal computer in conjunction with a peripheral camera."

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