Infringement case against 'Rise of the Tomb Raider' company continues following federal judge's order

By Karen Kidd | Mar 23, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – A copyright and infringement lawsuit by the patent holder of MOVA Contour Reality Capture Program against the company that issued the "Rise of the Tomb Raider" video game remains alive following a judge's order issued earlier this month.

U.S. District Court Judge Jon S. Tigar of California's Northern District Court granted the defense motions to dismiss Rearden LLC's copyright and direct infringement claims against Crystal Dynamics without prejudice, according to the judge's order issued March 6. Tigar otherwise denied Crystal Dynamic's motion to dismiss other parts of the case.

Tigar found that Rearden had not "adequately alleged a direct infringement claim" but had made its case "sufficient to plead intent to infringe" on Rearden's patent for MOVA, according to Tigar's order.

"Assuming the truth of these allegations, it is not an unreasonable inference that Crystal Dynamics became aware of Rearden's patents, and continued to be aware that the MOVA technology was patented when Crystal Dynamics contracted with DD3. The allegations are certainly thin, but they survive a motion to dismiss," the opinion states.

Two days after Tigar's order, the parties in the case filed a joint stipulation and proposed order in which Crystal Dynamics did not object to Rearden's filing of amended complaints after the court approved of a stipulated schedule on motions.

Rearden's case against Crystal Dynamics is "in many ways" a successor to 2015 dispute between Rearden and Shenzhenshi Haitiecheng Science and Technology Co., a Chinese company, over MOVA technology, Tigar said in his seven-page order. In August, the Northern District ruled that Rearden owns MOVA technology, Tigar said in his order.

That earlier case had been one of a wave of intellectual property lawsuits last summer over MOVA technology. Rearden filed against Crystal Dynamics in July.

"Now, plaintiffs Rearden LLC and Rearden Mova LLC (collectively, 'Rearden') bring suit against defendants Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix," Tigar said in his order.

"Rearden alleges that Crystal Dynamic's 'Rise of the Tomb Raider' videogame was released and distributed in the United States by Square Enix. Rearden contends that Crystal used the MOVA Contour systems and methods and Contour Program output, made derivative works, and with Square Enix reproduced and distributed, and authorized performance and display of, 'Rise of the Tomb Raider' in knowing or willfully blind violation of Rearden Mova LLC’s intellectual property rights."

Crystal Dynamics "acknowledge(s) the substantial overlap" in Rearden's complaints in this case and in others regarding alleged copyright and patent infringement, Tigar's order said.

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