Level-5 Says Inazuma Eleven Does Not Infringe On Sega’s Patents

By Spencer . December 12, 2012 . 1:30pm

imageSega filed a lawsuit for 900 million yen ($11 million) against Level-5 claiming that Inazuma Eleven violates two patents owned by Sega.


After examining the discrepancies, Level-5 responded with a statement saying Inazuma Eleven does not infringe on Sega’s patents and Level-5 is prepared to fight their case in court.


The heart of the lawsuit is about the way you control characters using a stylus or a fingertip. Level-5 says nowadays using a stylus to move characters around is a fundamental control scheme. Level-5 reiterated that Inazuma Eleven does not infringe on any Sega patents and this lawsuit could restrict options for game developers and inhibit the growth of the game industry as a whole.

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  • Kibbitz

    So the battle begins. And the only true winners as usual, will be the lawyers. Sigh.

  • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

    Well you don’t have to be Miss Cleo to foresee this won’t end well for Sega…

  • Will Jay

    I’m pretty sure the Fifa and Madden sports games use the same control scheme on the DS and at least iOS/Android, so yeah, that last point about limiting developers is definitely true. The control scheme is a no-brainer for controlling sports games with a touch screen, it’s like if Nintendo patented sidescrollers where you move right with a D-Pad and press A to jump. This is clearly just Sega trying to get lawsuit bucks off of Level-5.

    I’m just going to re-iterate that being able to patent gameplay mechanics, controls, and so on is completely retarded. I also blame Apple for starting this with the Samsung case.

    • komiko12

      I don’t know much about law, but if Level-5 wins, they can demand money from Sega, right? Sega saying that Level-5 copied patented game mechanics can potentially damage Level-5’s reputation.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but Level-5 can sue Sega for libel because in a way, Sega accused Level-5 of being a thief.

      • That and legal fees that Level-5 had to pay to their attorneys to fight the case.

  • raitouniverse

    Clearly Level-5 will win, they have an Ace Attorney on their side.

  • haqua

    Good! Sega’s not making a lot of sense. I mean, Marvelous/Neverland have games where you can move characters with the stylus and–oh, who am I kidding? Most games are like that! Just sue every company if you’re so desperate, Sega!

    Edit: The picture on the main page is also hilarious ~

    • Scrooge_McDuck

      To be fair, the patents are actually very specific. It’s not just “you drag the character with a stylus and they move”.

  • So when did Sega think that they had the same weight as Apple?

    to SEGA
    from Level-5

  • riceisnice

    Either way, Level-5 will be losing money from this fiaso (Sega’s wellbeing is considered unimportant here). I’m just hoping they’ll be alright after this. P.S. maybe you’ll get more revenue if you localize your Inazuma Eleven games in the west…

    • pressUPfororanges

      Almost all Inazuma Eleven games have been released in Europe already, and they’re constantly best sellers where I live.

      • riceisnice


        What about America! It’s not my fault that I’m a rare species that actually tolerates soccer/Football.

        • pressUPfororanges

          Well, the DS is region free so at least you can import it in English! That should count for something.

          • Elvick

            3DS isn’t~


  • SEGA is gonna lose no matter if they win, unfortunately. I don’t care how it is settled as long as both remain, I am a big fan of both.

    • puchinri

      This. Sega still has titles I love and want to see more of, but I also can’t say I think what they’re doing is wise or condone it (but I don’t want to see them out of the gaming industry either). Hopefully, all goes especially well for L-5 here too.

  • komiko12

    What would Sega do now?
    Level-5 has decided to fight back.
    I really doubt that Sega can prove their claim.

  • Margaret Chan

    Kotaku’s article makes it a little more clear about why SEGA’s lawsuit is pretty stupid. Inazuma Eleven was released in 2008 and SEGA’s first patent was granted in 2009. Other games using the touchscreen to move characters were also out before SEGA got their patent…

    • Luna Kazemaru



      • Elvick

        Terrible sites can still make decent arguments based on fact. Kotaku is one of the few smart sites not to have arbitrary number scores on reviews.

        • Luna Kazemaru

          I..I..Don’t even want to comment on this…

          • Elvick

            Not every article on terrible websites is bad, just as not every article on good websites are good.

            It’s sad that you’re overcome with your biases.

          • Luna Kazemaru


            I think if a site is terrible as hell when may others would agree what you said doesn’t really hold no ground. That site goes out of its way in just about anything to get hits need I remind about what happen with VS-13 or the whole BS with PSO2. Oh and lets not forget the so called ‘news’ they made with THQ when they did that humble thing. Its not biases its the image those people set for themselves.

          • Elvick

            That’s a media issue that is not Kotaku exclusive.

            I’ve read some good pieces there. Just as I’ve read some good ones on IGN and Destructoid. And I’ve read horrible ones on all of them too. I’ve read some stupid things on this site too.

            If you choose to only see the bad, that’s your bias. You want to view them in a poor light so you only point toward bad things for examples.

            If you don’t want to visit the site, don’t and leave it at that. Otherwise, don’t talk about quality. Each article, can be very different from the next. So you should just judge each article individually, or not at all.

  • Visa Vang

    Isn’t Mario 64 DS was using that stylus-move first?

  • KotaroInugami

    For those of you that haven’t seen any, here are some of the patents SEGA had. I understand the similarity, but it seems so basic that I can’t understand how they could claim control of it. And 8 games later no less.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething
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