News Article

Capcom Is Suing Koei Tecmo For Patent Infringement, Looking For $9.43 million Settlement

Posted by Damien McFerran

Legal laughs

Capcom has taken Koei Tecmo to court in Japan in relation to patent infringement and is seeking a settlement of $9.43 million. The first oral arguments were heard today in Osaka District Court.

The first patent named in the lawsuit was filed by Capcom in 2002 and relates to "a function that lets you acquire new content by combining an existing game with another piece of software." Capcom has listed 50 Koei Tecmo titles that infringe on this patent alone. While the details are still unclear, it would appear that this patent relates to expansion packs or DLC of some kind.

The second patent is related to controller vibration due to the proximity of foes.

Capcom is claiming that Koei Tecmo has profited around $93 million by infringing these patents, and is trying to gain a licensing fee of between 5 and 10 percent. It is also looking to force a withdrawal of certain Koei Tecmo titles — presumably some of these will be for Nintendo formats.

Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors series is cited as one of the series which infringes Capcom's patent. The company has recently worked with Nintendo to produce Hyrule Warriors, a Zelda-themed spin-off which uses the core framework of the Dynasty Warriors game engine.

[via eurogamer.net]

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User Comments (83)

DarkLloyd

#5

DarkLloyd said:

It doesn't make sense the dlc expansion thing has already been done in such a way described especially by sega. What they do patent the idea or something?

Crimson_Ridley

#6

Crimson_Ridley said:

Capcom, here's an idea; go back to making games your fans actually care for than rehashing SF IV over and over, turning Resident Evil in to a train wreck, and ruining the Breath of Fire franchise, amongst other things. You'll find that you'll start making money again so that you need not try to file some pathetic lawsuit.

Tell you what, for that advice you can hire me. Then, I can throw it back in your face because I'm not one for sailing on a sinking ship.

Esiwlwo

#7

Esiwlwo said:

What a joke man...
Just set megaman free already, and spare him going down with this sinking ship of a company...
I used to love Capcom so much. Such a shame.

BigH88

#8

BigH88 said:

Wow, Capcom must really be losing a lot of money to want to start suing another company. Sad really.

Takerkaneanite6

#9

Takerkaneanite6 said:

Capcom, you were not the first to create games in these genres. It's like if Nintendo sued every console maker post NES, for having a controller with a D-Pad, it sounds rediculous and it is rediculous, but atleast Nintendo doesn't do such a stupid thing. Capcom, fix your ****...

Drac_Mazoku

#10

Drac_Mazoku said:

ah.....ah....ah.....
How can this even be a real piece of news. It's April Fool, right? RIGHT?

Einherjar

#11

Einherjar said:

Well, thats also a way to get you money.
It baffles me what stuff you can patent these days.
The usage of controller vibration is patented ? Really ?
Well, i claim patent for the color blue now, and for breathing...and metabolism in general -.-

CanisWolfred

#12

CanisWolfred said:

I like how Capcom waited 12 years to actually make an issue out of this, when they have nothing to make a profit from. I also like how they decided to pick the biggest fish currently in Japan when their patent seems to apply to a ton of different companies (not to mention I can hardly believe Capcom came up with that first one before anyone else...).

Mega719

#13

Mega719 said:

Don't a lot of games do this? Legal Fail. BTW you should post about a tweet that claims Nintendo caught the one who was responsible for the Smash Bros leaks and was fired and getting sued

Caryslan

#14

Caryslan said:

I get it! Capcom owns a patent over the concept of putting out an updated version of a fighting games that includes new content! Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate breaks that patent, since Capcom started it with Street Fighter II and did it again with Street Fighter IV.

You better look out Sega, those two revisions of Virtua Fighter 5 are gonna cost you!

Oh, and Namco should be scared of the Capcom legal machine! That update to Tekken 6 is gonna hurt them as well.

Only Capcom is allowed to milk a fighting game to death with 4 revisions.

How dare Koei Tecmo do the same thing with Dead or Alive! And they only did one revision of Dead or Alive 5! My god, they are making Capcom look bad!

Capcom won't stand for this!

Einherjar

#15

Einherjar said:

A thought crossed my mind: Is SEGA sued too ? I mean they did Sonic and Knuckles back then ?

ECMIM

#16

ECMIM said:

This is what happens when you bet, heavily, on mobile, and combo that up w/ making 'Western-style' games, instead of Capcom-style games.

(In fact, I'm sure, privately, Iwata has a laugh at Capcom's current trials and tribulations for this very reason.)

Caryslan

#17

Caryslan said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't "a function that lets you acquire new content by combining an existing game with another piece of software" basically describe DLC?

I mean think about it, when you buy DLC, you are buying software that adds new features to existing software. They may be sold under the same title, but the map packs to Call of Duty seem like software that add in new content to an existing title.
It's so broad, it's narly impossible to really define.

I mean, it describes things like upgrading to a new version of Windows. Or updates to systems, games or computers.

And something I can't figure out is what games used this amazing feature? Because the only thought that comes to mind is gasp DLC.

Is Capcom serious? WTF happened to them? This is pathetic. Capcom went from a company making awesome games to a company that is suing other companies for money.

Hey Capcom, here's a hint. Toei Kecmo might have made some missteps with Ninja Gaiden 3, but they have not managed to drive off all their loyal customers. Dead or Alive 5 has gained some new fans and kept its older ones, and people still buy Dynasty Warriors games. Even Razor's Edge went a long way to apologize for Ninja Gaiden 3's issues.

Koei Tecmo seems to care for their customers and not jump on the bandwagon of radically changing all their franchises. Where's a new Mega Man game? A version of RE6 that fixes its issues? Street Fighter V?

How about not milking consumers with on disc DLC with characters that are already on there? Yeah, DOA 5 Ultimate might have DLC costumes and characters, but it does not feel like milking. And the new characters appeared first in the arcade version and were ported to the console versions.

This just sounds like a desperate, failing company looking for pocket change because they drove off their customers. If I were Namco or Sega, I would be careful. If this BS lawsuit goes through, then they are likely next.

raghouse

#18

raghouse said:

So Capcom waits 12 years and claims 50 games infringe on their patent. Even if there is patent infringement Capcom should only get money for 1 game. All of the games after that they should only get anything if they notified Tecmo-Koei of the patent infringement and Tecmo-Koei didn't take steps to correct the problem. This is like a woman that waits until a child is 18 then wants back child support for 18 years.

BLPs

#20

BLPs said:

Suing over something the Dualshock does..and for DLC that goes back as far as Sonic 3? I beg your pardon?

ultraraichu

#21

ultraraichu said:

I'm more surprised no one made a Ace Attorney reference till now. I mean Capcom, courtroom, and the fan's murdered fate in the company, it just screams "Take That!"

I didn't know that first one can even be patent. I thought that was a feature any developers can use, unless it's a special way. I guess Capcom will be sniping companies like Sega and Nintendo next.

Jahir

#24

Jahir said:

Whatever happened to Capcom? They used to be such a great company. I'm playing Õkami right now and man what a great game is it.

hosokawasamurai

#25

hosokawasamurai said:

Now Capcom is making EA look good in comparison.

Eurogamer: "The Street Fighter and Mega Man publisher's other peculiar patent that it's claiming Koei infringed upon is making a controller vibrate when enemies are near."

So C(r)apcom is suing Koei over a DualShock function? I thought Sony was the company that designed the DualShock.

Spoony_Tech

#26

Spoony_Tech said:

So who's next, they could literally sue every game company for this. I'm surprised they haven't Pattoned the use of Super Turbo Championship Edition or the like. Quite ridiculous Capcom.

WaxxyOne

#29

WaxxyOne said:

"A function that lets you acquire new content by combining an existing game with another piece of software."

Um. Didn't Sonic and Knuckles do that first? Does Capcom have an example that came before then?

Seriously, what is wrong with these companies? If you start suing for every tiny feature of gameplay, it will stifle creativity and ruin the games industry. Do they WANT another video game crash?

DracioKoi

#30

DracioKoi said:

WOW WOW BACK UP A SEC! Are you telling me they're suing for a feature that is used by almost every single game developer to this day? Capcom, what have you been smoking?
@WaxxyOne I would like to know that as well. As far as I know, Sonic and Knuckles was the first to use the expansion pack/DLC feature

R_Champ

#31

R_Champ said:

@Einherjar

Oh crap, I have a good metabolism...I guess I owe you a ton of money now T_T. Seriously though, Capcom is getting desperate if their resorting to patten trolling to keep them afloat.

retro_player_22

#33

retro_player_22 said:

Ha first it was SNK Playmore and Square Enix, now it's Capcom and Tecmo Koei. Maybe next it'll be Konami Hudson and Namco Bandai. Damn Japanese companies are patent trolling one another lately for some reason.

Lukaz2009

#34

Lukaz2009 said:

As Lu Bu would say, Capcom have become "vile insects!"

But in all seriousness, the only franchise Capcom is good for now is Monster Hunter if you want any kind of originality.

Einherjar

#35

Einherjar said:

@R_Champ Yup, its a pretty sad sight indeed. And for something so mundane.
The thing just is, the timing couldnt be more opportune:
Koei has never been one of the top tier devs. Although their flaggship titles like Dynasty Warriors and, through Tecmo, Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive are well known, they are the definition of niche titles, all with a rather small, but dedicated fanbase.
But with the upcomming Hyrule Warriors, they experience their first major scale hype. Its the first time many peopler even recognize them.

Also, the patent claims themselfes are just random:
Like i said earlier, im pretty sure SEGA did the whole upgrade thingy first with Sonic and Knuckles and also with the few games that used the genesis many upgrades at once.
So, why does capcom own ths patent ? Also, the first title i can think of that used the disc upgrade system was Dynasty Warriors 3 Xtreme Legens, which was released 2002 in japan.
Even if you count every DW and SW title seperatly, there is no way you will reach 50 titles alltogether.

Also, i cant remember Koei ever using that specific rumble feature in a game. If im honest, i cant remember such a feature ever used at all. The only thing that comes close would be Metal Gear Solid 2s vibration as a sensor of your OWN heartbeat when you hide in panic.

Still, its baffling that you can patent such a thing in the first place. Whats next ? A patent for tilting the analog stick to the left ?
If you need to secure rights to use the consoles offered features, no wonder game making has become so ridiculously expansive.
90% of your budget must be used up for you to be allowed to use the most mundane features.

That whole case is simply pathetic, whatever way you look at it.
You know, Capcom was once a company that had very lax rules when it came to their own assets. Its one of the few companys out there, that was perfectly fine with fans using any asset they could get their hands on to produce fan content like games and such.
They even promoted them.

Its rather offputting for them to be at koeis throat like that. But the weirdest part ? Capcom has their own Dynasty/Samurai Warriors clone, Sengoku Basara, which has more than one uncanny similarity to Koeis flagship series. And you never saw them go up in arms about it.
It would even made more sense if the patent claims were based on these games. I at least could have seen the point there.
But as it is right now, its rather obvious that Capcom just wants a piece of the fame Koei is getting right now.
Maybe they are upset and / or jealous that Koei got the Zelda franchise this time, as Capcom was the first 3rd Party company to be allowed to work on that. Maybe they are iffed about the fact that Koei was given full artistic freedom with it, while Capcom had to stick to the Zelda ruleset...

Who knows. All i know is, that i was once one of the most loyal Capcom fans out there, and now, im loosing more and more respect for them almost on a daily basis.

ValentineMeikin

#36

ValentineMeikin said:

OK, So Capcom want to sue Tecmo Koei for successfully releasing the Warriors series with updated versions.

What next? Suing Arc System Works and Namco Bandai too?

They're only doing this since Ultra Street Fighter 4 and Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 are no longer cash cows, so they think EVERYONE isn't able to use that marketing strategy.

Crapcom, you aren't the only people who do post-release content!

Iggly

#41

Iggly said:

I guess it's like what Phoenix Wright said. The dark age of law is upon us where we have companies trying to sue each other for stupid little things.

Sergio151

#45

Sergio151 said:

@Esiwlwo
Joke Man? That sounds like a robot master for a new Mega Man game! If we do ever get one. But to be serious, Capcom is really silly to sue a company just to get money back that Capcom is hemorrhaging out.

Remisio

#47

Remisio said:

The only good this might result in is:

Capcom Loses, they have to pay loads if money.

Nintendo buys them.

SuperMikey

#49

SuperMikey said:

Sorry Capcom, unless if you just now realized they infringed your patent, it's too late to intercept Koei's (and other companies for that matter) Uno in my opinion.

Caryslan

#50

Caryslan said:

@Remisio I don't want Nintendo to buy Capcom for one simple reason. I fear it would start an "arms race" where the big three start buying up third-party developers.

Capcom is better off either going out of business and having its IPs sold off bit by bit or to be bought by another third-party. Maybe Sega, Namco or Koei Tecmo(The irony) could buy them out.

Caryslan

#52

Caryslan said:

Honestly, Capcom deserves their fate. I can't remember the last time I bought a Capcom game. Between killing off Mega Man, horrible DLC, changing Resident Evil into a Gears of War wannabe, and tons of other crap, they have not gotten a cent from me in years.

Capcom chased the all-mighty "western" dollar down a storm drain and it bit them in the behind. What is funny about this approach is that they were already successful in the West. Why they felt the need to sell out and anger their fans is beyond me.

But this lawsuit is pathetic. What's wrong Capcom? The endless rehashes of Street Fighter IV and screwed-up Resident Evil games no longer printing money? Are they jealous that Koei Tecmo is enjoying more success right now?

What I don't get is that Capcom does everything but what their fans want. Capcom, no one wants you to put out lawsuits against other compaines. We want a new Mega Man game, Street Fighter V, Resident Evil 7 that goes back to the roots of the series around RE4 and before. Stop squeezing consumers for money with BS DLC schemes.

That's what we want Capcom. Nothing more than that.

Turbo857

#53

Turbo857 said:

Wow Capcom, seriously? First you shelve Megaman for years than file a frivolous lawsuit. I think Capcom's pissed because the Sengoku Basara games are actually better than Koei's Samurai Warriors but just don't sell as well. They're just hating. Not even Phoenix Wright would take a case this ridiculous and he's defended dolphins and parrots!

And nah, we don't need an old school Resident Evil. Just make one like Resident Evil 4-5, keep the 2-player co-op and we're all good.

Shambo

#54

Shambo said:

Pius Augustus's voice sounds in the back of my head: "How the mighty have fallen."

KikReask

#63

KikReask said:

Hey wasn't Capcom short on money a few months ago? Yeah this is just an attempt at a little bit more money. :P

Artwark

#64

Artwark said:

Wait, Isn't controller vibration something Nintendo did back then and its now open?

Darknyht

#65

Darknyht said:

@Caryslan They are giving their fans what they want with Super Ultimate Street Fighter IV Alpha Plus Extra Infinity Squared edition. Those games specifically cater to the hardcore competitive fighting game scene, and that is the bread and butter of those games.

As for the other titles, sometimes you just run out of ideas where to go with a series. Resident Evil basically lost it's way and probably would benefit from a story reboot. Dead Rising seems to still do what it set out to do. Mega Man has the same problem as Resident Evil.

(Edit: Forgot to square the Infinity for Inifinity to the second power, which has to be better.)

TheRealThanos

#66

TheRealThanos said:

I think I'll just go and dust off my Dreamcast now and play some truly awesome Capcom classics because I would like to remember them the way they were instead of the idiocy they are channeling now...

mike_intv

#70

mike_intv said:

That is $188,600 per title — or 3,772 copies of each game at $50 each.. Really strange.

Gridatttack

#72

Gridatttack said:

Why do gameplay style patents exist? It doesnt make sense.

Didnt some old 64 games vibrated when an enemy is near? Kinda like OoT with the Rumble pack, which vibrated when near secrets.

SnappyJon

#74

SnappyJon said:

Let me get this straight.

Capcom actually has a patent on "updating and expanding existing software"?!?

WTF!? O.O

R_Champ

#76

R_Champ said:

@Einherjar

Yeah, I'm losing faith in Capcom too. Loved the Mega man, Street Fighter, Monster Hunter, Breath of Fire, and Resident Evil series...not to mention the slew of amazing games they released on SNES. Even licensed games like Mickey's Magical Quest were good! They've driven themselves into the ground trying to mimic EA, Activision, and the like, and now they're trying to take a piece from everyone else to stay afloat--even fans with their shady DLC practices. Such a shame. Capcom's downfall is as sad as Bioware IMO, and I fricken' loved Bioware!

Einherjar

#77

Einherjar said:

@R_Champ BUt Biowares downfall was brought to them by a third party, EA.
BWs titles were still fantastic as long as they had full artistic freedom and a healthy financial backup.
These guys pretty much revolutionized the western RPG genre. And the even crazier thing, if you would let them loose, they would do it again and again and again.
They have SO much potential and talent...

Capcom on the other hand brought this upon themself.
At the time of their decay, basicly around the first MegaMan cancellations, i was a dedicated member of the Capcomunity, their official community site.

They constantly asked for user input, and in all honesty, thats basically Capcom as of old: Their games were all catered around their fanbase wishes. MegaMans Robot masters were send in by fans, Street FIghter 2s glitched that made combos possible was kept in, since fans told them it was great.
So, it wasnt unlikely for Capcom to again, rely on fan input.
But that was the beginning of the end.
They build a whole army of "serve bots" a community tied developing process for MegaMan Legds 3. We, as a group, pondered about what designes to use from the drafts provided by artists. We even had a world and could send in own ideas.
It was all rather smooth and uncomplicated. And then: "Game cancelled due to low demand"
That was the first, thick nail in their coffin. They instantly lost a gigantic chunk of dedicated fans in one, single swoop.
It was like a blow to the head. We worked alongside this project, plastered the forums with discussions about designs, thought about new ideas etc and than they said we were never there.

The next big nail was the whole DmC scandal. Again, after the first promo shots were shown, they asked for feedback...and we provided it.
We even took down the whole community for a day due to the massive flood of forum entrys on that one day. It wasnt pretty. People didnt like it, and it seemed that they thought about changing stuff around.
Then, the games devs entered the scene, insulted us and later even mocked us through ingame scenes (the whole mop scene that resembles dantes old hair design etc)
That was all due to it being the most discussed thing at the time. It wasnt just a design thing, like the SEGA fanbase going apescht over sonics eye color.
His stupid white hair actually had story purposes and, well, the whole character design was flipped upside down.
We all hoped for them to drop the DMC name from it and make it a new stand alone IP...but they didnt.
The fact why that escalated to drastically was, because capcom used to do stuf flike that all the time. Thats why Final Fight is known as Final FIght and not Street Fighter 98, as it was supposed to be called. Why the change ? Because the fans feedback said "great game, but no Street Fighter" and guess what ? One of the best known arcade brawlers to this day.

The moment Capcom lost the one thing that made them stand out of the crowd, the moment Capcom stopped listening to their fanbase, the moment they started to strife to become more and more like western developers was the moment, Capcoms downfall began.
And, well, you see how it went for them.
The once unshakeable arcade behemoth almost went bankrupt, due to games no one ever wanted and thus, no one bought.

hosokawasamurai

#78

hosokawasamurai said:

@Einherjar

Again, couldn't have said it better.

There were even some other issues they did, and, at least for me, they were just as bad:

First one, and the oldest I can think of, was the western version of the original Sengoku Basara, named Devil Kings. For the west release, there were a few gameplay changes, added difficulty and removal of japanese history references. All of this, in itself, wouldn't have been a problem if the "geniuses" as Capcom hadn't decided to cut the game's playable cast in half for no apparent reason. We basically got a gimped version in the west. An then they wondered why it didn't sell enough.

Then, we also have Resident Evil :the Mercenaries 3D fiasco. In one of their anti-consumer acts, they simply decided to remove the option to delete save data in an attempt to block used sales of the game, not to mention the game itself is more of a tech demo than anything. And, to make it worse, they add the option to delete saves years later only in the digital version of the game, which, obviously, cannot be resold, due to "user requests". Ooookay...

Then, we have Asura's Wrath. That game wouldn't have been that bad if it wasn't for the fact that you need to purchase the game's true ending as DLC. Any further commentary on this one would be unnecessary.

Then we have Resident Evil 6, the game that doesn't know if it's a survival horror or a dudebro cover-based shooter. Although, even if it was only one of those genres,thanks to the exagerrated amount of QTEs and, especially, the cheap level design, this games can be defined as nothing more than an exercise of frustration.

And we have Street Fighter X Tekken, a crossover between the two biggest fighters ever. It had everything to be great, so what happened? Simple: Capcom happened to be the publisher and decided to lock half of the game's roster as on-disc DLC. Fortunately for us, consumers saw it was a ripoff and simply ignores the game, making it bomb really hard.

Last but not least, the Ninja Theory DmC fiasco. If bad design choices and anti-consumer practices weren't enough, this time they went as far as not only making a "reboot" no one asked for, but also insulting everything about and everyone who liked the original series. DmC wasn't a reboot, wasn't a remake, wasn't a proper sequel. It was an insult from a publisher that thought they do no wrong and a mid-tier developer who thought they were the big deal. This scene basically sums what was wrong with this one:

After all of this, the only thing that surprises me is how a very few people still buy Capcom games to this day.

3MonthBeef

#80

3MonthBeef said:

Its like watching a star going supernova before ultimately burning out and becoming a black hole. Such is Capcom. First engage in frivolous lawsuits then implode into nothing.

Bass_X0

#82

Bass_X0 said:

If Capcom wins, I loose all faith in the court systems.

Loosened is okay, just as long as you don't actually lose it.

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