EFF Targets Nintendo Emulator Patent
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced the "Top 10 Most Wanted Patents" the organization will target first in it's campaign to rid the world of frivolous patent infringement lawsuits. A Nintendo patent that threatens current Palm OS and other Emulators is among those targeted.
After sifting through dozens of software and Internet-related patents submitted to its patent busting contest, EFF targeted ten whose crimes have made them enemies of the public domain. All the most-wanted patents are dangerously overbroad; many pose a threat to freedom of expression online. And every single one of the targeted patents is held by an entity that has threatened or brought lawsuits against small businesses, individuals, or nonprofits.
Among the top ten list is a patent awarded to Nintendo regarding software implementation of a handheld videogame hardware platform. The US Patent (6,672,963), effectively makes any unauthorized Nintendo emulator illegal in the United States and threatens any reverse engineering of videogames to promote interoperability and emulation by hobbyists.
The company has used claims under this patent threatening Palm OS developers Crimson Fire Entertainment and Gambit Studios with their patent on emulation of handheld games on low-power portable devices.
EFF's team of lawyers and technologists will be preparing to petition the Patent and Trademark Office for revocation of these offenders' patents. EFF's team of lawyers, technologists, and experts will now begin to research and collect prior art. Prior art is hard evidence that a patent is "obvious" because it is based on a commonly known idea or because the claimed "invention" actually existed before the patent was filed. Once the team has gathered enough prior art on a given patent, EFF will submit a petition to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in a legal process known as "reexamination." If the USPTO finds the prior art compelling, it will formally revoke the patent and release the idea back into the public domain, where it belongs.
"Patents are meant to protect companies against giant competitors, not to help them prey on folks who can barely afford a lawyer," said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz, who leads the Patent Busting Project. "We hope our project will not only assist the victims of these abusive patents but also help make the case for global reform of the patent system."
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