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Nintendo's Supplemental Computing Devices patent allowed by USPTO, rejection cleared*

R

Rösti

Unconfirmed Member
In December last year, I wrote about Nintendo filing a patent application for cloud gaming devices (Supplemental Computing Devices). In January this year the application was met with a non-final rejection. This application has caused many discussions, the following news should continue this.

Today, on April 18, 2016, following a few amendments, Nintendo's patent application 14/294,704 for "Supplemental Computing Devices for Game Consoles" was met with a Notice of Allowance from the USPTO.

*While no indication has been given that the non-final rejection has been cleared, I must assume it has considering the allowance

37 CFR 1.311 Notice of Allowance.

(a) If, on examination, it appears that the applicant is entitled to a patent under the law, a notice of allowance will be sent to the applicant at the correspondence address indicated in § 1.33. The notice of allowance shall specify a sum constituting the issue fee and any required publication fee (§ 1.211(e)) which issue fee and any required publication fee must both be paid within three months from the date of mailing of the notice of allowance to avoid abandonment of the application. This three-month period is not extendable.

(b) An authorization to charge the issue fee or other post-allowance fees set forth in § 1.18 to a deposit account may be filed in an individual application only after mailing of the notice of allowance. The submission of either of the following after the mailing of a notice of allowance will operate as a request to charge the correct issue fee or any publication fee due to any deposit account identified in a previously filed authorization to charge such fees:
(1) An incorrect issue fee or publication fee; or
(2) A fee transmittal form (or letter) for payment of issue fee or publication fee.
Source: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s1303.html

The person originally filing for the patent is not fully protected until he/she completes the rest of the patent process and pays the appropriate fees. An invention is still considered "patent pending" until the final patent has been issued. But the SCDs are quite close now to becoming a full patent.

Now, onto the documents. The following pages are from a document titled Notice of Allowance and Fees Due (PTOL-85), dated April 18, 2016:

Source: http://portal.uspto.gov/pair/view/BrowsePdfServlet?objectId=IN0EANXHPXXIFW4&lang=DINO

Next course of action I believe is Issue of Patent:

1309 Issue of Patent [R-07.2015]
Under the current publication process, electronic capture of most of the information to be printed in a patent will begin as soon as an electronic message concerning the allowed application is received in the Office of Data Management, immediately after the Notice of Allowance has been mailed. The application is then electronically exported to Initial Data Capture (IDC) for electronic capture of the patent filed. This process takes approximately 6 weeks. Upon IDC completion, an electronic message is then sent to the File Maintenance Facility to ensure that all post allowance correspondence, fees and drawings have been updated. The application may stay in FMF for 1-2 weeks or until all post-allowance requirements are met.

When the issue fee is paid and all other requirements have been met (e.g., drawings) for issuance as a patent, the application is then electronically exported to the Final Data Capture (FDC) stage. The FDC makes any updates necessary to the electronic file and places the allowed patent application in an issue. The average time that an allowed application is in the FDC process is 5 weeks (2 weeks of processing time for assignment of issue date). The "Issue Notification" is mailed approximately 3 weeks prior to the issue date of the patent.

A bond paper copy of the patent grant is ribboned, sealed, and mailed by the Office of Data Management.

All allowed applications ready for printing will be selected by chronological sequence based on the date the issue fee was paid. Special handling will be given to the following applications in these categories:

(A) Allowed cases which were made special by the Director.
(B) Allowed cases that have a U.S. effective filing date more than 5 years old.
(C) Allowed reissue applications.
(D) Allowed applications having an effective filing date earlier than that required for declaring an interference with a copending application claiming the same subject matter.
(E) Allowed application of a party involved in a terminated interference.
Source: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s1309.html

Congratulations to inventor Joe Bentdahl and Nintendo.
 

Theognosis

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May 30, 2014
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The supplemental computing device could simply be a detachable graphics card and CPU module for all we know. This makes the NX future proof as Nintendo can always bring out a more capable GPU/CPU as needed. Consumers can throw the old supplementary console away and purchase the latest model, similar to how PC's are upgraded.
 
R

Rösti

Unconfirmed Member
July 01 shirley
Know if there are any substantial changes to the application?
No greater changes. You can read about the amended and cancelled claims in the earlier thread (the one about non-final rejection), it's linked in the OP.

And yes, July 01 seems more reasonable, must have calculated that in a weird way.
 
Jul 29, 2013
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Yay, another Rösti thread with walls of text, which i don't fully read and thus only understand about half of it!

So, question. How big is the chance that Nintendo made these SCDs an important part of their NX strategy without the patent being granted/allowed until now?
 

BY2K

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Sep 12, 2010
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Best case, that's what Iwata meant by brand new concept.
Worst case, it's fucking nothing and they'll never use it.
 

frankie_baby

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May 3, 2007
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Yay, another Rösti thread with walls of text, which i don't fully read and thus only understand about half of it!

So, question. How big is the chance that Nintendo made these SCDs an important part of their NX strategy without the patent being granted/allowed until now?
Even if the patent wasn't granted it doesn't necessarily mean they wouldn't hsve been able to use it
 

E-phonk

Banned
Jan 1, 2006
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0
Belgium
Could someone tell me the short version of it? what does this all means?
Nintendo applied for a patent for game consoles (both handheld/console) that can draw their power not only from the main console but also from additional devices, including but not limited to cloud based devices. They call this SCD's or supplemental computing device.

The status of the patent got updated, as part of the process. That's what this thread is about.
The original thread about this can be found here: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1150086
 

Nanashrew

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Feb 16, 2014
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Could someone tell me the short version of it? what does this all means?
Local cloud based technology with a CPU and extra memory for additional computational power to handle post-processing with low latency, low hops and more real-time than using far away servers somewhere in the country for cloud based computations.
 

GDGF

Soothsayer
Jun 6, 2004
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I hope nintendo is planning to use this with the NX. This feels like it could be one of the most important patents in the history of the gaming industry.
 

Zalman

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I doubt it has anything to do with NX. That seems dangerously close to the reveal. I feel like they would make sure they could secure the patent first.
 

Trago

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Aug 31, 2013
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Sweet. I wonder how gamers would react to an add-on for more power. That and the whole shared network power thing from the patent. Weird shit, but it's up to Nintendo to not fuck up the message.
 

georly

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Apr 23, 2013
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I doubt it has anything to do with NX. That seems dangerously close to the reveal. I feel like they would make sure they could secure the patent first.
Still reading through OP, but I wonder if this could be nintendo's solution to incremental hardware upgrades, avoiding a ps4k situation?
 

DaSorcerer7

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Feb 2, 2009
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I doubt it has anything to do with NX. That seems dangerously close to the reveal. I feel like they would make sure they could secure the patent first.
Sometimes you to test the concept first before applying for the patent.
 

DrWong

Member
Nov 17, 2011
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I doubt it has anything to do with NX. That seems dangerously close to the reveal. I feel like they would make sure they could secure the patent first.
Agreed.

It's for Miitomo. Remember how the patent talks about a reward program? So I suppose this is to power your phone in order to have a 60fps Miitomo without loading times. The SCD, with its glorious additional computational shakra, should also allow to use the WiiU/3DS friends list in Miitomo.
 

Serenitynow

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Nov 14, 2015
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Cutting it close time wise, yes.

Due to the timing, it's probably not integral.
I was under the impression that a rejection from the patent office wasn't anything that would bar Nintendo from using the concept. It just wouldn't give them the rights and protection under patent law.
 
R

Rösti

Unconfirmed Member
Agreed.

It's for Miitomo. Remember how the patent talks about a reward program? So I suppose this is to power your phone in order to have a 60fps Miitomo without loading times. The SCD, with its glorious additional computational shakra, should also allow to use the WiiU/3DS friends list in Miitomo.
The title of the patent is "Supplemental Computing Devices for Game Consoles". As described:

[0024] FIG. 2 illustrates select example components of the game console 102 and the supplemental computing device 104 from FIG. 1. The game console 102 may take the form of any suitable type of computing device, e.g., mobile, semi-mobile, semi-stationary, or stationary. Some examples of a game console may include a "dedicated game console" in which the sole or primary purpose is to cause output (e.g., visually and audibly) of games for play by a user, potentially with use of a remote control, but potentially without. The game console may include its own display and/or be configured to be easily connected to external displays like televisions and projectors. In other instances, game consoles may take the form of tablet computing devices, smart phones or mobile communication devices, laptops, netbooks and other portable computers or semi-portable computers, desktop computing devices, terminal computing devices and other semi-stationary or stationary computing devices, wearable computing devices, or other body-mounted computing devices, or other computing devices capable of sending communications and performing the functions according to the techniques described herein.
Of course, as mentioned here, the game console may take form of a smart phone or similar. But to me this seems more a device you couple to a game console you connect to a television set.
 

Jim_Cacher

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Sep 7, 2014
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I was under the impression that a rejection from the patent office wasn't anything that would bar Nintendo from using the concept. It just wouldn't give them the rights and protection under patent law.
This is what I think of. It doesn't stop Nintendo from applying the concept to NX. I remember Iwata or Kimi said something like "we don't want competitors to copy our concept of NX", and I guess this technology is that hush-hush concept, considering the time frame of this patent application process.

Edit: Found it

http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2015/06/28/nintendo-is-keeping-the-nx-a-secret-so-microsoft-and-sony-dont-steal-their-ideas/#3674b5356ec5

Iwata said:
“We can’t talk about the NX,” Iwata said. “If we do, competitors may take our ideas and customers won’t be surprised.”
 

big_erk

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The supplemental computing device could simply be a detachable graphics card and CPU module for all we know. This makes the NX future proof as Nintendo can always bring out a more capable GPU/CPU as needed. Consumers can throw the old supplementary console away and purchase the latest model, similar to how PC's are upgraded.
It has been reborn. Well, not quite, but it was the first thing that sprung to mind.
 

E-phonk

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A possible simple use of this that I came up with, is that if you have the NX console, and connect your NX handheld within the same network it plays all your console games as well.
Since part of the rendering is done on your handheld device, it overcomes the distance problem the gamepad had if you left the room where your wiiu is.

It could also be used to upgrade the power of your main console as suggested, but that setup seems quite complicated and leaves devs with uncertain hardware conditions and split your userbase (the same problem ps4k might have, btw).
 

GaussTek

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Is it possible that this could also be related to, let's say, an additional device that allows BC (with Wii U for example, if their next console doesn't share the same architecture)?
 

heidern

Junior Member
Jun 7, 2004
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Could someone tell me the short version of it? what does this all means?
The patent is basically a peer to peer cloud solution. You have your gaming device and it can get access processing power from other devices. You can also share the power of your gaming device with other people and get rewarded for doing so.

Theoretically you buy your NX console. It can draw on the power of nearby NX consoles. They can sell a dedicated booster box and the console can access that too. You could have multiple booster boxes. Theoretically they could make an app for your PC and then the console will be able to access that too. You could share all of these to on the network to other people and they share their Nintendo p2p enabled devices with you.

A future handheld could also theoretically jack into this network and even your mobile could do so enabling you to play Nintendo mobile games in higher quality. It's one big Nintendo processing network. The key element is that being p2p it is local so short distances mean low latency. This means it provides real time results.
 

Skittzo0413

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Jan 8, 2016
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Patent employee here:

First off, congrats to Joe Bentdahl on getting the patent!

So like Rösti said, a Notice of Allowance is indeed a notice that the previous Rejection has been cleared. After the previous Non-Final Rejection the Applicant (Joe, or his representation) amended the Claims to overcome the prior art (previous patent) cited by the Examiner, as well as, in this case, the rejection under 35 U.S.C. 101 which is typically related to patenting abstract concepts, rather than physical inventions or methods of using physical inventions.

All in all this doesn't mean all that much for Nintendo, as I'm sure they'd be using whatever technology from this patent they want regardless of whether or not this was granted. All it means is that now (well, as soon as it's issued, which typically takes a couple months and some more fees) Nintendo, or Joe specifically, has the exclusive right to making and selling the technology prescribed in the Claims, and can litigate against any other people or companies putting out something similar enough.
 

Dark Cloud

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All that matters is if they're going to use it and how it will be implemented . It's not like Nintendo just saw this and said "ok guys hurry up we can design it and use it now!" Lol

I'm most curious about the SCD more than anything else related to NX.
 

Kimawolf

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So does this mean that it may be possible to use my PC graphics Card and processor to boost my NX if its used for my NX?

Would be amazing! Not to mention devs could just use their PC ports for NX games. Let the game or system detect if you are riding with a base NX or boosted NX and decide on quality from there.
 

Theognosis

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It could also be used to upgrade the power of your main console as suggested, but that setup seems quite complicated and leaves devs with uncertain hardware conditions and split your userbase (the same problem ps4k might have, btw).
It wont be a problem when the NX games have low, mid, high or even custom settings. And unlike a PC where the graphics cards and CPUs come from different vendors in all shapes and sizes, developers will have a fairly easy time developing for a defined and limited set of NX setups since all upgrades will come from Nintendo. Hopefully my suspicion is correct for it will make the NX a fully scalable console designed to be upgraded at the onset.
 

DrWong

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Rösti;201256294 said:
The title of the patent is "Supplemental Computing Devices for Game Consoles". As described:


Of course, as mentioned here, the game console may take form of a smart phone or similar. But to me this seems more a device you couple to a game console you connect to a television set.
It's a joke :]
 
R

Rösti

Unconfirmed Member
I figured as much, but thought that detailed description was fitting hence my reply. ;)

This invention could certainly be tied to amiibo, Miitomo, My Nintendo etc. and related rewards programs.

Also, thanks to Skittzo0413 for your input. Always appreciated.
 

Danthrax

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Nov 19, 2005
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Patent employee here:

First off, congrats to Joe Bentdahl on getting the patent!

So like Rösti said, a Notice of Allowance is indeed a notice that the previous Rejection has been cleared. After the previous Non-Final Rejection the Applicant (Joe, or his representation) amended the Claims to overcome the prior art (previous patent) cited by the Examiner, as well as, in this case, the rejection under 35 U.S.C. 101 which is typically related to patenting abstract concepts, rather than physical inventions or methods of using physical inventions.

All in all this doesn't mean all that much for Nintendo, as I'm sure they'd be using whatever technology from this patent they want regardless of whether or not this was granted. All it means is that now (well, as soon as it's issued, which typically takes a couple months and some more fees) Nintendo, or Joe specifically, has the exclusive right to making and selling the technology prescribed in the Claims, and can litigate against any other people or companies putting out something similar enough.
Thanks for lending us your expertise.
 

casiopao

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Jan 27, 2013
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I had questions about tbe the patent here guys. Why does it seems only nintendo that patent lots of strange and funny things here? Don't sony or Microsoft do patent too here?