A jury in the Eastern District of Lousiana found last week that MGA Entertainment‘s “Laser Battle” board game which uses a laser beam and a series of mirrors willfully infringed U.S. Pat. No. 7,264,242, owned by Innovention Toys LLC. The jury set the amount of damages to $1.6 million. According to an article from Law360, this litigation has been going for more than five years, with many twists and turns along the way. Innovention’s attorney fees during this five-year saga will likely take a large bite out of the damages, but Innovention has stated that they will be pursuing additional enhanced damages for MGA’s willful infringement, potentially tripling the total damages they collect from MGA.
Innovention Toys markets its own game called “Khet,” in which players “move Egyptian themed mirrored pieces after which they fire their REAL (eye-safe) laser with the goal of blasting their opponent’s pharaoh to win the game.” I think that any of us that have aligned optical elements of a laser system on an optical table can immediately envision how the game works.
The company’s FAQ page seeks to manage the expectations of its customers by explaining that while the game’s Class II lasers, lower in power than most laser pointers, give “the neat effect of firing a laser to bombard your opponent’s pieces, you will not get the wow effect of seeing it melt or blow holes through the playing field.”
The game is played by optics students and researchers in breakrooms around the world, and a Khet tournament was held at the 2010 Photonics West conference. It also has been used in classrooms to teach some basic principles of light and optics.