Electronic Art – Painting By Numbers

Video Game Law Blog

August 03, 1995

(This is an archived case summary)

Edward Gussin, who had invented an electronic drawing and colouring system, tried to claim that Nintendo's “Mario Paint” infringed his patent. Mr. Gussin lost at both the District Court and the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals focused on two grounds to dismiss Mr. Gussin's claim. First, Mr. Gussin did not provide any facts to support his claim. Second, Mr. Gussin's patent specifically related to devices that stored actual colour data on the pixel memory, whereas Nintendo's game used “pointers” connecting the pixel memory to a separate location that stored colour.

The Court of Appeals did not find it necessary to address the other issues the lower court examined. The lower court had found against Mr. Gussin in addition to the above grounds because (1) Mr. Gussin's patent related to a separate hardware device rather than a programmable computer; (2) Mr. Gussin's device had two joysticks rather than one computer mouse; and (3) Mr. Gussin's invention has a “dedicated draw switch”, which Nintendo's system did not have.

Gussin v. Nintendo of America, Inc.
1995, US Ct of Appeals, Fed. Cir.
No. 95-1051, 1995 WL 460566
KEYWORDS: patent infringement – Mario Paint
Summary by: Cheyenne Reese