Court turns down Sci Games appeal on tech patent

Court turns down Sci Games appeal on tech patent

Macau’s Court of Final Appeal has rejected an appeal brought by a unit of casino equipment maker and games provider Scientific Games Corp, concerning a patent application for some electronic gaming machine (EGM) technology.

The judgment – made public recently – stated that the firm’s patent request did not fulfil all the required criteria.

The original request was submitted in May 2014 by SHFL Entertainment (Australasia) Pty Ltd, a company later renamed SG Gaming ANZ Pty Ltd, according to a notice published in August 2017, in Macau’s Official Gazette.

Scientific Games inherited the intellectual property of SHFL Entertainment Asia when Scientific Games took over Bally Technologies Inc in a US$5.1-billion deal in November 2014. A year earlier, Bally Technologies had bought SHFL Entertainment Asia’s parent, SHFL Entertainment Inc.

SG Gaming’s patent request concerned technology for an EGM with a dealer station and a number of terminals for multiple players. The request had been turned down by the city’s Economic and Technological Development Bureau, on the basis that the invention lacked “an inventive step.”

An appeal against the bureau’s decision had first been dismissed by Macau’s Court of First Instance in April 2019, and subsequently by the city’s Court of Second Instance, in October that same year.

In its judgment, the Court of Final Appeal (pictured) stated – among other arguments – that the computer network for reciprocal data communication between terminals, video cameras, screen-visualisation technology and conversion technology data that were mentioned in the case, “existed long before the patent application was filed” by SG Gaming.

The new system “had just combined, in a way that didn’t exist yet, several data technologies that already existed, into a new thing; thus, the invention did not include an inventive step,” said the judgment.

The patent application had also been challenged by executives connected to electronic table game (ETG) manufacturer LT Game Ltd, including Jay Chun, chairman of LT Game’s parent, Hong Kong-listed Paradise Entertainment Ltd.

Over the years, Paradise Entertainment and parties now controlled by Scientific Games have been involved in litigation concerning electronic table games in the Macau market.

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