It’s no surprise that all companies, not just video game companies, are particularly “jealous” of what they patent. What is more surprising, however, is what was highlighted by Florian Mueller, an expert on the patent market and author of the specialized blog FOSS Patents, who in recent hours has been talking about an issue that involves the videogame industry : the language that Sony would use to refer to its direct competitors, within its patents.
As noted by Mueller (thanks VGC), “for over a decade, Sony’s patents have denigrated Microsoft and Nintendo as ‘inferior manufacturers’ of video game consoles».
A language that the patent expert labels as «gratuitous, puerile and unprofessional».
For more than a decade, #Sony’s #patent applications have been disparaging #Microsoft and #Nintendo as ‘inferior manufacturer[s]’ of video game consoles: gratuitous, childish, unprofessionalhttps ://t.co/P2ftyIOIC0#PlayStation #Xbox #consolewars
Dozens of examples since 2011.
— Florian Mueller (@FOSSpatents) April 9, 2023
In his blog, the expert delves further into the matter, stating that he knows that it is a choice of words that has been going on since at least 2011 and which he considers completely unsuitable for the venue of patents, since “patents are not intended as propaganda tools for console war warriors”.
In particular, Sony’s patents highlight the recurrence of the expression «[…] an entertainment system from a different manufacturer, although inferior», when the documents refer to either Xbox hardware, or Nintendo hardware.
According to the expert:
«Referring to competitors generally indicating them as ‘inferior’ is gratuitous, stupid, childish and unprofessional. Even if those producers were in fact inferior, it would not mean that any Sony invention a patent purports to describe is, by definition, innovative and worthy of protection”.
And, in this regard, Mueller does not send them to say, in his analysis, explaining:
«If Sony wants to do comparative advertising, it can do it but in another location.
Players will not choose which product to purchase based on the language Sony uses in its patent applications.”
According to the expert, in short, the documents for applying for a patent are simply the wrong place in which to use a language that sends digs at direct competitors, since we are talking about cards reserved for insiders and who must describe as clearly as possible what they intend to record.
Mueller highlights how this expression, «different, albeit inferior» manufacturers, appears in at least a dozen pending patents – as you can see in the complete list at this address.
Since the site GameRant had also delved into the matter, Mueller closes his examination by explaining that the hypothesis put forward by the site – that is, that Sony has tightened the tone after the start of the acquisition by Activision Blizzard (telenovela that has been going on for some time now) – cannot be considered founded.
“The list shows that Sony [has been using this kind of language] systematically for over ten years. It’s not attributable to pride for having invented something, it’s just crazy“.
For completeness, as also reported by VGC, we also report that Mueller on LinkedIn reports that he worked, in the past, for Activision Blizzard, while in his description on the blog claims to have Microsoft among its current customers.
PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, current generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft respectively, have been available on the market since November 2020. Nintendo Switch was launched in March 2017.