The sometimes-esoteric patent battle over electronic trading cards just wrapped up.
Late last year, Wildcat settled with a slew of defendants, leaving Konami as the sole defendant. This week, however, Konami and Wildcat just settled their differences. The case is over.
Legal translation: This is likely the last article about Wildcat 1.0. Guess, the 'cat's going to be euthanized from Law of Cards.
Overall, this is a tricky case to determine who won or lost. I suspect the plaintiff got paid by some (if not most) of the defendants. But, the defendants did succeed in getting the Patent Office ("PTO") to reexamine Wildcat's electronic trading card patent.
Legal translation: A "do-over" by the PTO if you will.
The reexamination is still ongoing and the PTO has issued a preliminary rejection of the claims. This does not mean the patent will automatically die. Wildcat has a chance to overcome the rejection and receive an even stronger patent.
Legal translation: "Your honor, this patent has TWICE -- TWICE I tell you -- been examined by the good people at the PTO and they say it's good! It's not just good, your honor, it's doubly good!"
But, there's no guarantee Wildcat will win at the PTO. It's equally likely that the patent will change somehow, or be invalidated.
I suspect this uncertainty over the fate of the reexamination process led to Wildcat receiving less than it could have from the defendants. But sometimes it's best to take a smaller amount of money on the table rather than roll the dice to see if you can win a larger pot.
There's a Schroedinger's Cat analogy here I could probably make but, given this is a patent case over electronic trading cards, it's already too nerdy so I won't.
What does this mean for the future?
Well, competitors should keep in mind that until something more happens at the PTO, the Wildcat patent is still alive. If the PTO kills the patent, that'll allow others to create electronic trading card products with more confidence. And heck, the above facts might encourage new market entrants to gamble that the Wildcat patent is on its last legs, so why wait?
However, if they gamble on this and lose, there's a risk they will end up in a Wildcat 2.0 lawsuit.
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