Just have a simple question, the ATB system (Active Time Battle) from Final Fantasy has been patent in the past (i think 1992 on july). I am interested in making a turn based game based on the Charge Time System which is virtually a gauge filling up (using the speed value of the unit) until you reach 100 then the unit can act but nobody else can interfert the action of the unit. I am building an internal list from this to simulate turns of each units so i can see when units are actually playing.. then if the speed attribute change the list is updated.

Here the info on the patent found on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gameplay_of_Final_Fantasy :

A major departure from this system came in Final Fantasy IV, when Hiroyuki Ito introduced the "Active Time Battle" (ATB) system,[7] where the time-keeping mechanism does not stop whilst the play selects commands.[8] Square filed a Japanese patent application related to the ATB system on July 16, 1991 and a corresponding US application on March 16, 1992. One Japanese patent (JP2794230) and two US patents (US5390937 and US5649862)

So my main question is : Is my system an infrigement of this patent?

Would love also some answers on this in the answer:

  1. Is the Charge Time System from Final Fantasy patented
  2. What is the Active Time System patent about? It is the mechanic? or the carbridge system which the ATS is based on?

1 Answer 1


The US patents that you mentioned should both be expired. In particular, US5390937 was issued on Feb 21, 1995. At that time, US patents were given patents that lasted 17-years from issue date. The result is that the patent expired on Feb 21, 2012. The second patent (US5649862) issued in 1997 and would have two-years of term remaining except that patent includes a "terminal disclaimer" such that it expires on the same day as the '937 patent.

So, this means that you can use the particular system disclosed and claimed in the patents without fear of incurring any legal liability for patent infringement. If, however, you make some changes to the system disclosed in those applications, this analysis does not tell you whether the improved-system is patented.


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