Mishcon de Reya New York LLP secures important software patenting decision

Posted on 15 September 2016

Mishcon de Reya New York LLP has secured an appellate decision confirming that a software method to sync the lip and facial movements of animated characters in video games is eligible for patent protection. Jeff Lamken of MoloLamken acted as appellate counsel.

Acting on behalf of McRO Inc. – the owner of the lip-sync animation patents – Mishcon de Reya took action against nearly two dozen gaming companies, claiming they used patented methods to animate facial expressions and lip movements. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit this week overturned a trial judge's previous decision that the ideas were abstract and, as such, not eligible for a patent. McRO argued its patents claim a specific, step-by-step process and produce a tangible result: realistic, 3-D lip-sync animation.

The three-judge panel stated that the patent claims are "limited to a specific process for automatically animating characters using particular information and techniques and does not pre-empt approaches that use rules of a different structure or different techniques".

The case - which has been watched closely by software and video-gaming communities – has been remanded for further proceedings, meaning McRO is now able to pursue its claims.

Commenting on the decision, Mark Raskin, Partner at Mishcon de Reya New York LLP who leads the case for McRO said: "we are extremely happy for our client and we look forward to moving forward with the case at the district court.