Level 5 Responds to Sega's Inazuma Eleven Lawsuit
posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
The Japanese video game developer Level 5 has publicly responded to video game publisher Sega's lawsuit regarding certain uses of the Nintendo DS system's touchscreen in the Inazuma Eleven soccer role-playing game series.
Sega is claiming in its lawsuits that Level 5 is using specific methods to move characters with a stylus or finger on the touchscreen — methods for which Sega says it has two patents. Sega is demanding that Level 5 stop production and sales of eight Inazuma Eleven games, as well as pay 900 million yen (about US$10.9 million) in damages.
Level 5's statement claims that the company is not infringing on Sega's patents. In the statement, Level 5 claims that it released the first game in the Inazuma Eleven franchise on August 2008, and Sega did not acquire the two patents until February 2009 and August 2011, respectively.
Level 5 added that it has analyzed and studied the differences between its methods and Sega's patents, and has concluded that it has not violated the patents. Level 5 also said that even though it has not violated the patents, the patents themselves cover a basic operation for touchscreen games nowadays, and Sega's lawsuit will negatively impact the video game industry's growth by limiting its options. Level 5 added that, as a member of the same industry, the lawsuit itself makes the company "feel uncomfortable."
Sega filed for the lawsuit on October 22, and the first round of oral arguments in the suit began on Friday.
Fukuoka-based Level 5 is also known for its Dark Cloud, Professor Layton, and other game franchises. It has sold more than three million copies of the eight main Inazuma Eleven games, earning what Sega says is around 900 million yen.
The Inazuma Eleven game series began in 2008 on the Nintendo DS, and has since spawned several manga and anime series with multiple movies. The newest installment, Inazuma Eleven Go vs. Danbōru Senki W, opened in Japan earlier this month.