Monday, May 17, 2010

"Providing Free Credits to Induce Gambling" Does Not Constitute Direction or Control Over Player for Purposes of Joint Direct Infringement

The court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment of noninfringement as to one of plaintiff's electronic gaming patents. "Because the parties agree that at least some of the remaining steps in the method claim are performed by the gaming machine, the standard for joint infringement by multiple parties of a single claim . . . comes into play. [Defendant] cannot be liable for infringement of the [patent] unless it exercises control or direction over the player's performance of the 'making a wager' step, such that the law would hold [defendant] vicariously liable for the player's action. . . . [T]he court rejects [plaintiff's] argument that [defendant] controls or directs the behavior of players by providing free credits to induce gambling at [defendant's] machines. In addition, because the 'awarding prize' step is not performed when [defendant's] employees test gaming machines, [defendant] does not perform all of the steps of the claimed method during testing, as required for a finding of infringement."

Aristocrat Technologies et al v. International Game Technology et al., 5-06-cv-03717 (CAND May 13, 2010, Order) (Whyte, J.)

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