LAS VEGAS, Nov. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Patent infringement cases, in the casino gaming space, have dropped nearly 65% since the Alice decision in 2014.
Prior to Alice, millions of dollars were squandered by slot manufacturers seeking to invalidate their competitor’s patents. These cases took years to litigate, and would sometimes backfire spectacularly.
Perhaps the most famous example of this was when IGT sued Bally over “The Wheel” patent. When the smoke cleared, the court found that IGT clearly did not invent the wheel, and lost the patent for their bonus wheel, the primary bonus feature of the Wheel of Fortune Game, arguably, the most successful slot machine of all time.
In 2014’s Alice v. CLS Bank, the Supreme Court ruled that an abstract idea does not become eligible for a patent simply by being implemented on a generic computer. This marked a fundamental change in how computer implemented inventions are evaluated for patent eligibility.
Now, even the most pugnacious patent trolls are starting to understand that they can easily lose the patent they are seeking to enforce by pursuing frivolous patent litigation.
Recently, the most bellicose of all patent trolls in the casino gaming industry, Rembrandt Technologies, sued WMS Gaming for infringement, and had their patent ruled invalid in the process.
However, the ramifications of the Alice Decision are not just felt by trolls.
Patent experts in the casino gaming space, estimate that 60-75% of all slot machine patents granted prior to 2014 would not be able to withstand “Alice” scrutiny. The majority of these slot patents are owned, acquired, or controlled by industry giant IGT.
Perhaps this would explain why, in the last three years, IGT has settled all of its infringement cases and entered into cross-licensing agreements with all of their competitors, including but not limited to, Aristocrat, Scientific Games, Aruze, AGS, Ainsworth, Konami, Incredible Technologies, and Everi Games.
“If you can’t beat them, Join them”
Apparently, IGT would rather generate a revenue with it’s aging patent portfolio, rather than subject it to the scrutiny that comes with Alice era patent litigation.
Jamie Klingler, CEO of Scrappy Elegant Gaming agrees,
“This is a good business strategy by IGT, as most of their patents share prior art, if any of their patents were to be invalidated, the exposure could create a domino effect that would decimate their entire intellectual property portfolio. If the Alice decision teaches us anything, it is to choose our battles wisely.”
SOURCE Scrappy Elegant Gaming