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In reference to the patent: US8082499

I'm confused, does the patent ONLY apply to the graphical designs shown in Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4, and Image 5, or does it apply to all/any type of interactive dialogs? If it's the latter, I don't understand because there are plenty of games that used interactive dialog years before SWTOR and Mass Effect was even created.

Like, could you make a game that uses just interactive dialog and not the graphic designs from the patent, or is that still not allowed? Again, there are plenty of games that had this waaay before SWTOR and Mass Effect existed.

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  • @Gary S When you say 'easier it is to work around the claim', does that mean you could apply not all, but just a few things described in claim 1 to your own video game, or would applying just one thing from the claim be considered infringement? Also, do patents expire? If so, is there a way to check when this one expires? I appreciate your help, by the way. – Trek Feb 5 '18 at 15:15
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In patents, "the name of the game is the claim". The images may help you to understand the claims, but (other than for design patents, which all start with a D, like D123456) the only protection that exists is for the precise things claimed. For example, in the '499 patent you cite, to infringe claim 1 you would have to infringe each of the parts of the claim -- as follows:

  1. A computer program for a computer system, wherein the computer program resides on a non-transitory medium, the computer program configured to present a graphical interface to be displayed during execution of the computer program, enabling a user of the computer program to participate in a simulated conversation with the computer program, the computer program comprising: program code for managing a plurality of possible dialog responses, at least some of which have a stored associated definable conversation segment type; program code for generating a displayable choice indicator, wherein the displayable choice indicator indicates directional choices selectable by the user; program code for reading from memory an indication of a definable conversation segment type associated with each of a set of the directional choices; program code for generating dialog responses associated with each of the set of directional choices, wherein a given dialog response is associated with a given directional choice when the definable conversation segment type of the given dialog response matches the definable conversation segment type of the directional choice; program code for receiving an input indication from the user, wherein the input indication corresponds to a directional choice wherein the stored associated definable conversation segment type for each possible dialog response corresponds to an emotion related to the dialog response, wherein the definable conversation segment type associated with each of a set of the directional choices also corresponds to an emotion such that, over a plurality of user interface displays, the program code for generating dialog responses repeatedly places possible dialog responses that relate to the same emotion with the same directional choice, thereby providing the user with a consistent location for selecting dialog responses corresponding to a particular emotion.

** An easy but very rough way to evaluate claim value is: The longer the claim, the less likely it is to be invalid, but the less likely it is to be infringed (and the easier it is to work around the claim). The shorter the claim, the more likely to be infringed but the less likely it is to be valid.

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  • The drawing of a design patent are part of its claims. – George White Feb 5 '18 at 5:41
  • Please use the formatting tools available to make the claim more readable. Use the quote tool and then use of spaces at the beginning of lines to get indentation. Also, it would be good to include both independent claims. Otherwise this is a good answer. – Eric S Feb 5 '18 at 15:47

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