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Koei Tecmo Games Ordered to Pay US$1.34 Million in Patent Infringement Lawsuit

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
CAPCOM claims KOEI Tecmo Games infringed on patents for Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, Fatal Frame games

The Intellectual Property High Court in Tokyo ruled in favor of Capcom on Wednesday in the company's lawsuit against Koei Tecmo Games for patent infringement. Koei Tecmo Games was ordered to pay 143,843,710 yen (about US$1.34 million), including 130,773,710 yen (about US$1.21 million) in damages and 13,070,000 yen (about US$121,000) in legal fees.

The court ruled that Koei Tecmo Games infringed on Patent No. 3350773 (Patent A), which relates to the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors game series, and Patent No. 3295771 (Patent B), which relates to the Fatal Frame game series. Capcom noted that it is satisfied with Wednesday's ruling.

The current lawsuit is a continuation of a lawsuit Capcom initially filed with the Osaka District Court on July 4, 2014. CAPCOM referenced "new content acquired through using a previous game and new software" and "a controller-vibrating feature when enemies are nearby" as claimed patents used in KOEI Tecmo's series.

The Osaka District Court ruled on December 14, 2017 that Koei Tecmo Games infringed on only Patent B, and the company was ordered to pay 5.17 million yen (about US$48,000) in damages and legal fees. Capcom was dissatisfied with the ruling and filed an appeal with the Intellectual Property High Court on December 27, 2017. Capcom requested damages that totaled 983,231,115 yen (about US$9.12 million) for Koei Tecmo Games' infringement of Patents A and B. Because the Intellectual Property High Court ruled on Wednesday that only part of Koei Tecmo Games' relevant works infringed on Patent A, the company was ordered to pay only part of the requested amount.

Koei Tecmo Games stated that is it was satisfied that the court ruled that part of its works do not infringe on patents. However, the company feels it is "very regrettable" that the court did not rule in favor of its claim that all of its works do not infringe on patents. The company plans to examine the judgment thoroughly and consider further action.

Koei Tecmo Games noted that Wednesday's ruling will not effect its business performance for the current fiscal year, which ends in March 2020. The company further noted that the rights for Patents A and B already expired due to the expiration of their patent durations. Therefore the ruling will not impact future development and sales. Koei Tecmo Games plans to respect companies' intellectual property right going forward, while remaining resolute against the improper exercise of rights that can hinder development in the industry.

KOEI Tecmo Games president Hisashi Koinuma announced in February that the company would make an announcement regarding Samurai Warriors, but he did not know if the announcement would be this year or next year. He did not specify whether the announcement would be about a possible numbered continuation, but he said that while Samurai Warriors 4 was the last numbered game in the series, it does not mean that the series is ending.

Koei Tecmo Games released the Samurai Warriors 4 game for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in Japan in March 2014, and on PlayStation 4 in July 2014. The company released the game for all three consoles in North America and Europe in October 2014.

Sengoku Musou 4DX (Samurai Warriors 4 DX), a new release of the game for the PS4 and Switch, launched in Japan on March 14.

Sources: Capcom, Koei Tecmo Games, 4Gamer (touge), Gamesindustry.biz (Haydn Taylor), NHK via Yaraon!

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