Patent war breaks out over ‘Deadpool’ facial animation technology

Patent war breaks out over ‘Deadpool’ facial animation technology


Patent wars are by no means a new phenomenon. They have been occurring in a large number of domains and technologies for a long time. Only now, however, have they reached the cinemaplex.

The brilliant animation technology was most recently used in the hit movie “Deadpool” but also  in previous blockbusters like “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, “Gravity” or “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. The tech is called Mova and it is an Academy Award winner as of last year. What Mova basically does is capturing every facial tick and motion of the human actor and transferring it onto an animated figure.

Such an advanced piece of technology is the subject of a nasty battle between a San Francisco-based company called Rearden and a Chinese company called the Shenzhenshi Haitiecheng Science and Technology Company. The “war” broke out when Shenzhenschi sued Rearden last February.

Steve Perlman / Photo by Jaymer Delapena

This month, Rearden, that is in fact the original developer of Mova, countersued the Chinese company that has claimed ownership of the technology. Rearden, founded by the Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Perlman, is claiming a string of patent and copyright violations.

The San Francisco tech company has asked
a judge to award it financial damages and more than that, block the distribution of movies and other entertainment, denouncing that they have been made by infringing Mova patents and trademarks. Lawyers say it is technically possible for a court to eventually block the distribution of the movies, but that it is a longshot.

This patent war comes at a relatively quiet period in the history of tech industry patent battles.

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Andreea is a recent graduate of the University of Bucharest, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in American Cultural Studies. She's currently enrolled in a Master's program in the same field with a particular interest in literature and media studies. She makes the most of her leisure time by reading mystery novels, playing video games and pursuing her greatest passion, photography.