US '627 [Method and apparatus for creating timewise display of widely variable naturalistic scenery on an amusement device ] may get some action
The first claim of US Patent 9,317,627 to Johan Gielis states:
A method for creating timewise display of widely variable naturalistic scenery, including simulated plants, simulated other organisms or simulated landscapes, on an amusement device with minimized data storage and processing requirements, the method comprising: creating with computer hardware a first shape that corresponds to at least a portion of a simulated natural form, including at least a portion of a simulated plant, a simulated other organism or a simulated landscape, based on a first set of parameter values in data storage input by said computer hardware into a representation of a formula that establishes shape position with respect to angle or orientation in a rotational coordinate system based on a vast number of possible parameter sets as: shape position corresponds to a fraction in which the denominator of said fraction has a variable root parameter (n.sub.1) set as the root of an expression including the absolute values of two terms, with the absolute value of a first term of said two terms being to an exponent based on a variable first exponent parameter (n.sub.2) and the absolute value of a second term of said two terms being to an exponent based on a variable second exponent parameter (n.sub.3), wherein said first term includes an axis sub term, having a first axis parameter (1/a or A), that is multiplied by a cosine sub term including the cosine of a value including a first rotational symmetry parameter (m.sub.1) times an angle or orientation, and wherein said second term includes an axis sub term, having a second axis parameter (1/b or B), that is multiplied by a sine sub term including the sine of a value including a second rotational symmetry parameter (m.sub.2) times an angle or orientation; wherein (i) said first and second axis parameters, said root parameter (n.sub.1), said first and second exponent parameters (n.sub.2, n.sub.3) and said first and second rotational symmetry parameters (m.sub.1, m.sub.2) are finite real numbers, (ii) said root parameter (n.sub.1) and said first and second axis parameters are not equal to zero, and (iii) said first and second axis parameters, said root parameter (n.sub.1), said first and second exponent parameters (n.sub.2, n.sub.3) and said first and second rotational symmetry parameters (m.sub.1, m.sub.2) are not equal to 1; generating the naturalistic scenery by displaying on a monitor of the amusement device a naturalistic scene based on said first shape; creating with said computer hardware additional shapes including said computer hardware inputting modified parameter values into said representation of said formula; generating a timewise display of naturalistic scenery by displaying with said monitor additional naturalistic scenes based on said additional shapes, said additional naturalistic scenes being displayed on said monitor separated timewise from said naturalistic scene for said timewise display of naturalistic scenery; whereby allowing timewise display of widely variable naturalistic scenery, including simulated organisms, simulated plants or simulated landscapes, with minimized data storage and processing requirements due to minimized storage requirements for said parameter values and processing with said representation of said formula.
The priority chain is
This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/582,528, filed on Oct. 20, 2009, entitled Method and Apparatus for Synthesizing and Analyzing Patterns Utilizing Novel "Super-Formula" Operator of J. Gielis, which is a divisional of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/566,986, filed on May 9, 2000, entitled Method and Apparatus for Synthesizing and Analyzing Patterns Utilizing Novel "Super-Formula" Operator of J Gielis, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/133,279, filed on May 10, 1999, the entire disclosures of which applications are all incorporated herein by reference as though recited herein in fUll.
Ars Technica notes:
Despite the noise being made by Genicap, there's some question as to whether the company's patent actually applies to No Man's Sky. The European Patent Convention says directly that "discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods" are not directly patentable, and US patent law also excepts "disembodied mathematical algorithms and formula" from patentability.
But that doesn't mean Genicap's patent is invalid. "Copyrighting a mathematical formula is actually a difficult feat," Law of the Game blogger and attorney Mark Methenitis tells Ars. "You can, however, patent the practical application of a mathematical formula... So while you can't make the formula itself a claim, you can make using the formula to achieve specific outcomes 'claims' in the patent. Looking over the patent here, it does seem like that's [what Genicap did]."
In other words, Hello Games can't get in trouble for simply using the basic superformula. But it could run into legal trouble for using the formula in a specific way that's outlined in the patent. And while Genicap's patent calls out the formula's potential use in "graphics programs (e.g., 2D, 3D, etc.); CAD software; finite element analysis programs; wave generation programs; or other software," it doesn't specifically mention game design (procedurally generated or otherwise).
Separately, as to IPBiz