GAME AND TECH. CO., LTD. v. ACTIVISION BLIZZARD INC., decided June 21, 2019, Claim Interpretation

U.S. Patent No. 8,253,743 is directed to a game-item customized game character as a layered avatar (pages 2-4). “Gamvatar” was interpreted to be a combination of a conventional avatar with a game item function rather than a conventional gamvatar with a game item function (page 8). The dispute centered around whether the gamvatar is limited to concurrently usable online and in the game (pages 8-9). The claim language uses a gamvatar to create by providing an avatar and combining item functions with the avatar, not requiring representation in game and on a website (page 9). The specification focuses on the combination, not the location of representation (pages 9-10). The statement for concurrent function in the game and on a website is directed to use, not what the gamvatar is (pages 9-10). “Layers” is either a display or performance of game functions (page 11). The specification teaches avatar layers and layers for game function (pages 11-12). The prosecution history shows that layers do not have to be displayed (pages 12-13). The prior art shows the claims as interpreted (pages 15-18).

Hindsight: Using unconventional terms may be difficult. Care should be taken to use the term consistently in claiming, the specification, and prosecution. If the prior art had been known in this case, then the claims could have been drafted to require particular use of the gamvatar and/or narrowing of layers term to display only.