Patent News | "Patent enforcer sues over slot machine feature"

By : Steve Green
Source :
Category : Patent News

Slot machine maker WMS Gaming Inc. and four casino operators were sued Wednesday over allegations certain of their slots infringe on a Virginia company’s patent.

The company, Rembrandt Gaming Technologies LP of Arlington, Va., is part of patent enforcement company Rembrandt IP Management.

Rembrandt says on its website, “We work with owners of strong patents that have great market value, and we enforce these patents against major companies that may infringe upon them.”

Rembrandt filed suit in U.S. District Court for Nevada against WMS, Boyd Gaming Corp., Caesars Entertainment Operating Co., MGM Resorts International Operations Inc. and Penn National Gaming Inc.

Rembrandt says WMS has been selling or leasing to the casinos certain games infringing on Rembrandt’s “Electronic Second Spin Slot Machine” patent.

The machines have a “re-spin” feature and include Bamboozled, Jewels of Africa, The Monkees, Kingdom of the Titans, John Wayne, Survivor, Reel Rich Devil, Mastros, Plataea, Cavalier, Palace of Riches III, Tiger’s Realm, Griffin’s Gate, Hearts of Venice and Zeus II, the lawsuit says.

The casino operators, in the meantime, have been operating additional “accused video slot machines,” the lawsuit says.

They include titles like Dr. Jackpot, Dukes of Hazzard, Ghostbusters, Sex and the City and Wheel of Fortune Triple Spin, the suit says.

A WMS promotional video included with the lawsuit as a court exhibit explained the second spin feature this way: WMS Spinning Streak machines have 15 reels spinning independently and when a winning symbol appears, it is held while the other reels re-spin. “Finally, a slot machine that holds on to the good stuff,’’ the announcer says in the video.

A WMS spokesman said the company couldn’t comment on the pending litigation.

In a press release, Rembrandt said the patent at issue was granted in 2003 and names New Mexico-based computer scientist Michael J. Dietz as the inventor.

“Michael Dietz used his imagination and technical skills to invent the slot machine hold and re-spin feature claimed in his patent. Very simply, the defendants used Mr. Dietz’s invention for their profit and did not pay for their use,” Paul Schneck, Rembrandt’s chairman, said in the press release.

Lawsuits alleging patent infringement are nothing new in the slot machine industry and sometimes take years to litigate.

Source :