A federal jury in Marshall, Texas, ruled that Supercell’s titles like Clash of Clans, Clash Royale and Brawl Stars infringe four patents held in the US by Japanese studio Gree. Supercell will now have to pay $8.5 million in royalties to Gree. In fact, the Finnish developer might be ordered to pay around $25 million if District Court Judge Rodney Gilstrap decides to impose a more severe penalty, which he might, since the jury found the patent infringement to be willful.
As reported by gamesindustry.biz, Supercell was found to have infringed four of five Gree’s patents:
- A method to improve the usability of city-building games using templates to define the positions of one or more in-game contents that can be applied to in-game areas based on the commands of the player.
- A server and method for transferring an object between two users, as well as the communication module for sending and receiving requests for transfers from other players.
- A control method for a touch-screen shooting game which first displays an effective shooting range which then detects whether an attack target is in range and commences the attack base on a command from the player.
- A recording medium and server method for selecting game content to be used in an in-game battle — the selected item being replaced by another option for a future turn.
- A server and control method for selecting character cards from a selection and using them in battle against an enemy character — the selected item being replaced by another option for a future turn.
Supercell claimed the patents were invalid. The jury decided otherwise.
Supercell also attempted to get the trial postponed, citing its Finnish witnesses’ inability to appear before court in the US amid the pandemic. U.S. Magistrate Roy Payne denied the request noting that there’s already been a trial in the district.