May 2012

May 24, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego – According to recent filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Sony has applied for a patent for a correction to its existing Glasses-Free 3-D technology.

Industry experts have historically agreed that the success of Autostereoscopic 3-D technology has been dependent on the viewer’s angle and distance from the viewing screen. Sony, one of the leaders in the 3-D television market, was one of the first mainstream companies to release its 3-D technology toward that end in 2010. 3-D television technology that did not require viewing glasses was unveiled not long after that. However, critics quickly noted problems with 3-D display images that included blurring, image distortion and a less than optimal view when the viewer wasn’t lined up to a precise and exact distance and angle.

Past limitations of 3-D technology without glasses were a result of a fixed arrangement of lenses that did not allow for adjustment that would separate the images as needed. Essentially, the viewer was often in the wrong place for viewing the images. In particular, depending on how near or far the viewer was from the screen, the depth of picture could easily be over or under-exaggerated. As a result of these imaging issues, the viewer could end up with headaches or nausea in extreme cases. The new technology proposed by the current Sony patent involves a correction that would enable the device to detect the viewer’s distance from the screen and automatically adjust the separation of images to provide optimal viewing clarity and sharpness of picture.

The new Sony patent includes both the image processing methodology and the corresponding entertainment system for image display. Additionally, Sony’s new technology would shift image elements in either or both the left and right eye images while viewing the Glasses-Free 3-D images. This shift would alter viewing displacements and create a point of intersection of lines of sight between the viewer and his or her image elements. The result would be a depth separation of image elements, creating the same effect as if the viewer had been viewing images at the ideal distance and angle.

May 11, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

San Diego – Rembrandt Gaming Technologies of Arlington, Virginia has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against slot machine manufacturer WMS Gaming and four casino operators over allegations that a certain feature on the slot machines infringe the company’s patent.

The patent infringement complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for Nevada, has named WMS, Boyd Gaming Corp., Caesars Entertainment Operating Co., MGM Resorts International Operations Incorporated, and Penn National Gaming Inc. as defendants that have allegedly infringed on Rembrandt’s “Electronic Second Spin Slot Machine” patent. According to the lawsuit, the machines reportedly have an automatic “re-spin” feature and include titles such as Dr. Jackpot, Dukes of Hazzard, Ghostbusters, Sex and the City, and Wheel of Fortune Triple Spin.

Rembrandt released a press saying that the patent at issue was granted in 2003 with New Mexico-based computer scientist Michael J. Dietz as the inventor.

“Michael Dietz used his imagination and technical skills to invent the slot machine hold and re-spin feature claimed in his patent. Very simply, the defendants used Mr. Dietz’s invention for their profit and did not pay for their use,” stated Rembrandt’s chairman, Paul Schneck, in the press release.

In the lawsuit, Rembrandt submitted evidence of a WMS promotional video that was explaining the re-spin feature as: WMS Spinning Streak machines have fifteen reels spinning independently and when a winning symbol appears, it is held while the other reels re-spin. The announcer in the video exclaims, “Finally, a slot machine that holds on to the good stuff!”

Rembrandt IP Management, a patent enforcement company, and owner of the plaintiff Rembrandt Gaming Technologies, released the following statement regarding the lawsuit: “We work with owners of strong patents that have great market value, and we enforce these patents against major companies that may infringe upon them.”

A spokesperson for WMS said the company could not comment on pending litigation.

San Diego – More than six years after San Diego based Callaway Golf became embroiled in a heated patent infringement battle with competitor Acushnet, the two companies have announced a joint settlement “of all pending litigation and disputes, including disputes beyond the golf ball suits between the parties.”

The settlement did not involve either party paying the other money, however the agreement
will allow both companies to manufacture and market golf ball and golf club components under patents owned by the other.

In February 2006, Callaway Golf filed a patent infringement complaint against Acushnet after the Fairhaven, Massachusetts-based company submitted a reexamination request of four Callaway golf ball patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In the complaint, Callaway claimed that certain patents it had acquired from Spalding in a 2003 bankruptcy auction had been infringed by Acushnet’s Pro V1 golf balls. After numerous legal filings, lawsuits, countersuits, rulings, and reversals, the court ruled in favor of Callaway in December 2007. However, that verdict was set aside by an appeals court, leading Callaway to request a new trial.

In 2011, Callaway suffered a major setback in the case when the Board of Patent Appeals declared that Acushnet’s claims that the four patents were indeed invalid, a ruling that was eventually followed by a judgment in Acushnet’s favor in a Delaware U.S. District Court. Furthermore, that ruling was appealed by Callaway just months before the two companies came to the out-of-court settlement.

The patents at issue involve breakthrough technology for producing multilayer, solid core golf balls. This type of premium golf ball, consisting of the solid core surrounded by a thin, hard mantle and soft-feeling cover made of urethane or a similar elastomer, is highly appealing to the very best golfers.

Callaway Golf Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of golf clubs, markets and sells its equipment and accessories in more than seventy countries through golf retailers, sporting goods stores, mass merchants, directly online, and through its pre-owned and trade-in programs. Founded by Ely R. Callaway, Jr., Callaway Golf was initially made golf clubs that were hickory sticks, which were hickory shafts with a steel core.