A group of video game makers, including Pillsbury clients Disney Interactive Studios and LucasArts, didn't infringe a patent covering creating facial animations, the Federal Circuit affirmed.

McRO Inc. originally sued the developers for allegedly infringing a patent related to a method for automatically generating 3D animations of lip movements and facial expressions, according to Bloomberg BNA. McRO said the developers’ use of the software applications FaceFX and Annosoft to model facial animations infringed the patent.

A California district court held that the relevant parts of the patent were invalid and the developers didn't infringe. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the noninfringement decision but reversed the invalidity decision.

The appeals court agreed the developers didn't infringe because their software didn't include the same “three-dimensional vectors” used in the patented technology to animate facial expressions.

The district court had also invalidated the parts of the patent because the developers identified two animation techniques that hadn't been “enabled” by the patent's specification. Enablement requires a patent to teach the public how to “practice the full scope of the claimed invention.”

Los Angeles intellectual property partner Evan Finkel, and counsel James Chang, represented Disney and LucasArts.