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Microsoft Facing Lawsuit Over Kinect Technology

By - Source: Courthouse News Service | B 43 comments

Virginia-based Intelligent Verification Systems has filed a complaint in federal court against Microsoft over the Kinect motion sensing device for Xbox 360 and Windows PC. The company is represented by Michael Mutter with Birch, Stewart, Kolasch & Birch in Falls Church, Va.

According to the lawsuit, the company's '073 patent, "Animated Toy Utilizing Artificial Intelligence and Facial Image Recognition," was issued in 2006. This patent protects expression- and facial-recognition technology with applications, and even notes that it's suited for video games, consoles, and other entertainment systems.

However Intelligent Verification Systems (IVS) also claims this invention is the first of its kind, that facial recognition technology was only used in the security sector prior to the patent. Microsoft's Kinect peripheral, which supposedly infringes on that patent, was first introduced on the Xbox 360 back in November 2010, around four years after the IVS patent.

The court filing states that lawyers representing IVS contacted Microsoft in a June 2011 letter, alerting the Redmond company about the patent infringement. But so far there has been no response, and Microsoft is currently making millions in increased revenue from the stolen technology (and reportedly storing a good chunk in offshore bank accounts to avoid taxes). To drive the stake in even further, IVS points out that Kinect even achieved a Guinness World Record as the "fastest selling consumer electronics device."

Microsoft isn't the only Kinect-related company within firing range. IVS also listed Majesco Entertainment in its lawsuit, as its game "Zumba Fitness Rush" benefits from the supposed stolen technology. Currently it's unclear whether IVS plans to go after other Kinect developers "benefiting from the infringement."

Naturally the company wants to see Kinect and Zumba Fitness Rush banned from store shelves, seeking an injunction. IVS also wants a written acknowledge from both companies within 30 days after the complaint was filed, a jury trial and treble damages – or rather, triple the amount of damages typically awarded in a similar patent infringement case.

As of this writing, Microsoft has not issued a statement.

 

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    dark_wizzie , October 1, 2012 10:06 PM
    Stop suing everybody. Jesus.
  • 20 Hide
    Thunderfox , October 1, 2012 10:22 PM
    Patenting random combinations of concepts should not be legal. Isn't there supposed to be some sort of rule against patenting obvious things? It seems obvious that AI would be used in toys, and it seems obvious that facial recognition would be used in anything that uses AI.

    If this company patented this in 2006, why have they not released an actual product by now? Are they even in the business of making anything, or are they just another patent holding company that needs to be outlawed?
  • 18 Hide
    slabbo , October 1, 2012 10:10 PM
    Oh boy, need more details on that patent to see if they really infringed on it. I'm pretty sure MS patented Kinect too. They (patent office) really need to double check patents to make sure they don't overlap with each other before they give them out. So why are there 2 patents out there with the same things? I also wouldn't be shocked if MS did infringe and went ahead with Kinect anyway.
Other Comments
  • 26 Hide
    dark_wizzie , October 1, 2012 10:06 PM
    Stop suing everybody. Jesus.
  • 18 Hide
    slabbo , October 1, 2012 10:10 PM
    Oh boy, need more details on that patent to see if they really infringed on it. I'm pretty sure MS patented Kinect too. They (patent office) really need to double check patents to make sure they don't overlap with each other before they give them out. So why are there 2 patents out there with the same things? I also wouldn't be shocked if MS did infringe and went ahead with Kinect anyway.
  • 6 Hide
    memadmax , October 1, 2012 10:13 PM
    This doesn't surprise me one bit, except the fact that its prolly some fly by night company that doesn't do anything but hold patents *instead* of apple...
  • 20 Hide
    Thunderfox , October 1, 2012 10:22 PM
    Patenting random combinations of concepts should not be legal. Isn't there supposed to be some sort of rule against patenting obvious things? It seems obvious that AI would be used in toys, and it seems obvious that facial recognition would be used in anything that uses AI.

    If this company patented this in 2006, why have they not released an actual product by now? Are they even in the business of making anything, or are they just another patent holding company that needs to be outlawed?
  • 9 Hide
    A Bad Day , October 1, 2012 10:22 PM
    slabboOh boy, need more details on that patent to see if they really infringed on it. I'm pretty sure MS patented Kinect too. They (patent office) really need to double check patents to make sure they don't overlap with each other before they give them out. So why are there 2 patents out there with the same things? I also wouldn't be shocked if MS did infringe and went ahead with Kinect anyway.


    It's going to be interesting if there are two conflicting patents. Hehe.
  • 10 Hide
    timaishu , October 1, 2012 10:25 PM
    Did this company actually make something utilizing the patent? Is so, then maybe they have a case. If not, they need to stfu.
  • 0 Hide
    ankaj , October 1, 2012 10:26 PM
    Anyone know if there is a real website for them? A quick google search brought up a facebook page, and mention of them on a business site, but other than that nothing except them vs microsoft.
  • 0 Hide
    livebriand , October 1, 2012 10:42 PM
    ankajAnyone know if there is a real website for them? A quick google search brought up a facebook page, and mention of them on a business site, but other than that nothing except them vs microsoft.

    http://ivs-biometrics.com/ (from their FB page)
  • 0 Hide
    esrever , October 1, 2012 10:43 PM
    There need to be some laws against this kind of BS. Patents like these need to be implemented and technical or else you'd just have a counter progress system. Im not sure who holds the patent for making patents but that person really should just sue all these people.
  • -2 Hide
    gilgamex , October 1, 2012 10:55 PM
    slabboOh boy, need more details on that patent to see if they really infringed on it. I'm pretty sure MS patented Kinect too. They (patent office) really need to double check patents to make sure they don't overlap with each other before they give them out. So why are there 2 patents out there with the same things? I also wouldn't be shocked if MS did infringe and went ahead with Kinect anyway.


    Are you aware of just how many patents exist? It's a vast vast world of patents, I'm inclined to think that it is highly likely to infringe a patent without even meaning to. And to think of how hard it is to organize such a diverse and specifically worded world of patents seems brain hemmoraging just to think about let alone accomplish. Though I'm not citing this as the reason but just a rebuttal to that thinking in general
  • 5 Hide
    ddpruitt , October 1, 2012 11:01 PM
    Whatever happened to the "reduction to practice" part of filing. Not only is the patent system broken but they don't even follow their own rules when letting these things slip through.
  • 0 Hide
    EnFission , October 1, 2012 11:02 PM
    Had they filed the complaint 2 months after Kinect's release, and the patent was valid and applicable to Microsoft's implementation, I could see there being a case. However they have waited 2 years, and now there are several software developers out there that base their coding around Kinect. This would only hurt the entire industry for the sake of one greedy little company.
  • 0 Hide
    technoholic , October 1, 2012 11:05 PM
    what is this with us patenting system? i read everywhere lawsuits about patent stuff. if that patent system is open for any kind of idea, it has a huge potential for abusing too
  • 3 Hide
    the1kingbob , October 1, 2012 11:24 PM
    If I remember correctly.. A company approached MS with the kinect technology. I have a hard time believing they didn't approach without a patent in hand. As mentioned by others, I think their time has passed. It isn't like the kinect is some small thing that was kept quite, they should have filed a complaint over a year and a half ago.
  • -1 Hide
    elevatorlaissez15 , October 1, 2012 11:38 PM
    I could see there being a case. However they have waited 2 years, and now there are several software developers out there that base their coding around Kinect. This would only hurt the entire industry for the sake of one greedy little company. http://goo.gl/inbnz
  • 4 Hide
    belardo , October 1, 2012 11:55 PM
    dark_wizzieStop suing everybody. Jesus.

    Jesus is dead... don't think he had a lawyer.
  • 1 Hide
    nocteratus , October 2, 2012 12:12 AM
    dark_wizzieStop suing everybody. Jesus.


    It reminded me of an old south park episode where everybody was suing everybody!
  • 4 Hide
    Cazalan , October 2, 2012 12:24 AM
    "Animated Toy Utilizing Artificial Intelligence and Facial Image Recognition,"

    Kinect isn't an Animated Toy. It's a motion capture device.

    Facial image recognition is far from unique. Microsoft would have to copy their implementation very closely to be applicable. Webcam software has been doing that for 10+ years.

    Microsoft had no reason to respond.
  • 0 Hide
    billgatez , October 2, 2012 12:55 AM
    Good luck suing. MS easy has the power to make these guys go away.
  • 0 Hide
    TheViper , October 2, 2012 1:40 AM
    billgatezGood luck suing. MS easy has the power to make these guys go away.


    I don't know about that. These guys are the people behind all of the DoD's bio-interface and bio-security development.

    MS may have an incredibly expensive legal team but these guys have the US government as their main client. I don't think you can just make them go away.
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