How would I find the a patent? I'm curious, because I plan on developing an RPG in the vein of that sort of battle system.
Is the Linear Motion Battle System (used in the Tales series by Namco Bandai) patented?
A few comments:
The question is whether the "linear motion battle system" you intend to build infringes any issued US Patents. These could be owned by Namco Bandai or other companies.
Because modern technology is complex, determining infringement is complex. If you are concerned that patents may have been issued on the linear motion battle system which you intend to build, you should have a prior art search done by a patent agent (or a patent attorney) before building it. The goal would be to determine whether you need to invent around any specific patents.
A number of active contributors to Ask Patents are patent agents or patent attorneys who do prior art searches on a regular basis. You should feel free to reach out any of them directly to discuss your project. Most would give a quick initial consultation for free to discuss fees and scope of work.
That said, here is a list of recent issued patents assigned to Namco Bandai which involve linear motion. You can use Google Patent search to read these patents. You would want to pay particular attention to the claims of the patents, not the title or the abstract, to determine what invention specifically has been claimed by Namco.
44 Recent US Patents assigned to Namco related to Linear Motion
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US6448970B1 Image generation apparatus for causing movement of moving body based on flow data for a fluid set on a course, and information storage medium
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US5707060A Medal dropping game machine
US5598516A Image synthesizing system and video game apparatus using the same
There are many types of searches. A novelty search, for example, looks for publications of any kind from any place and time that would show that your great idea is not new and non-obvious. You do that to gauge if your idea might be patentable.
On the other hand, if you are planning to build a product and are concerned about infringing someone else's patent, you would do a freedom to operate search. Only the claims of issued and in-force patents in the countries you plan to sell into are relevant. But, in a freedom to operate search, it isn't only the clever part of your product plans that are at issue. You could invent a car that flys and its tire treads can infringe a Firestone tread pattern utility patent. Of course, switching to non-infringing tires later is easier than redesigning the core of a product.
Although no particular license is required for any searching, people who are serious about freedom to operate searches often want an accompanying opinion that you are clear to make and ship. Only an attorney can provide that since it essentially predicts you having a good outcome if you end up in court. They, rightly, charge a lot for that "insurance policy".