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In the ongoing saga between Ironburg Inventions and Valve, a new ruling appeared on August 17 that gives Valve another chance to invalidate some parts of the patents involved.

The case against Valve boils down to the back paddles included on the Steam Controller, which Ironburg have repeatedly claimed infringes on their patents. Initially, the courts backed Ironburg and awarded at least $4 million in damages, which was upheld in later ruling against Valve.

Now though another ruling has appeared after an appeal which actually backs Valve. The interesting part here is that one piece of the evidence from Valve during the trial was on some prior art that should have invalidated parts of the patents from Ironburg.

It involves an article on xboxer360.com (which no longer exists) that you can see using the Wayback Machine showing a controller with buttons on the back being reviewed in 2010 (keep in mind the patent Ironburg were granted is from 2013). Valve showed copies as evidence, but this was ignored in previous rulings. The things is, this same article was even used by Ironburg in their patent application shown at the bottom under "Other references".

While you might not be able to normally view the article now, it still existed. For it to be taken into account as prior art it had to be "sufficiently accessible to the public interested in the art" and of course it was. The ruling even notes that references to it were found by a patent examiner by doing a "brief" search on it.

The finding then is that this makes there be "overwhelming evidence" of prior art, which is something that was basically ignored in previous rulings because dates didn't line up so it had "not been authenticated". We're now waiting for the next part, as it has been remanded so it's getting a reconsideration.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Hardware, Meta, Valve
37 Likes
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27 comments
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Hori 29 Aug
I hate this kind of patents so much.
Izaic 29 Aug
Can Ironburg just burn in a hole in the ground? This kind if shit is what prevents us from progressing.
Izaic 29 Aug
Here's hoping valve gets every penny back plus more and Ironburg goes bunk
Termy 29 Aug
Every loss for a patent troll is a win for all of humanity - those kind of people can rot and die...
detrout 29 Aug
Was it patent trolls that took the steam controller off the market, and not poor sales?
STiAT 29 Aug
Good. Some Patents are just bunkers.

Don't get me wrong, some patents do serve a purpose and are very expensive in R&D and have every right to be there and to get a share for others implementing it (things like 5G technology).

But I really have an issue with all those trivial patents which should not exist in the first place.

A button is just a button, leave it at that. A corner of a device just that, how ever round.

I'd argue that patents generally hinder evolution, but in some cases I see the need of the one doing expensive R&D to be compensated for their effort.
Quinn 29 Aug
The patents filed by Ironburg/SCUF are invalid; they're trying to patent a concept. Buttons on the rear of controllers have existed before these patents were filed.
I've a theory that they're being used to discourage controller innovation, to maintain Corsair's KB+M market.
Quoting: detroutWas it patent trolls that took the steam controller off the market, and not poor sales?
Likely a mixture of both. Very unfortunate. It is an excellent controller. Far ahead of its time.
pb 29 Aug
It's kind of terrifying that you must go through several court instances and burn a lot of money just to finally get someone to look at a glaring evidence.
denyasis 29 Aug
Quoting: detroutWas it patent trolls that took the steam controller off the market, and not poor sales?

Sales would be my guess, combined with mixed reviews and poor support.
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