It’s almost been a year since the fourth hearing for the lawsuit of Nintendo vs Colopl, and it has continued on to this day, with the eighth hearing held on July 12, 2019. That said, it’s not unusual for lawsuits to drag on for years. [Thanks, Tmiyadera 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!]
As a reminder, the lawsuit started with five patent infringement claims from Nintendo, stating that they were infringed upon for the popular smartphone title White Cat Project. This included the ‘Punicon’ wrist strap thumb stylus promoted for games on the Nintendo DS.
The 4th hearing left off with Nintendo preparing responses to Colopl’s claims that their patents were null in the first place due to some appearing in other games beforehand. That said, despite claiming from the start that they were not infringing on any matter, Colopl stealthily changed the method that movement in White Cat Project worked. Originally, it was controlled with a circular range of movement, but after the change, the range of movement uses a rhombular shape instead. This change was made with no official notification to players.
Of course, Nintendo discovered this, and used this as a counterargument to Colopl’s previous claims that their patents were null. That said, this bought Colopl time, and also lowered the chances of White Cat Project ending service, although it increased the chance that they will lose the lawsuit.
Additionally, Colopl also changed the way that White Cat Project shows silhouettes when the player character is hidden behind objects to show only a stencil outline rather than the previous method. (This one was given player notification.) This change further increased the chances of White Cat Project surviving, but was akin to admitting there was something wrong in the first place.
This seemed to be a theme in the hearings, with Colopl buying time for their game, and Nintendo using these changes to chip away at the previous claims. And Colopl throwing more barely-qualified examples of games that null Nintendo’s patents again and again. And so the hearings will go on to 2020.