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WMS Sues Bally Over Transmissive Reels

Slot manufacturer WMS Gaming announced that it has filed a lawsuit against rival slot-maker Bally Technologies, in which WMS is alleging that several Bally slots, including last year’s hit “Cash Spin,” along with the games “Dragon Dynasty,” “Twin Tigers” and “Sky Spirits,” infringe on the patent WMS owns for the “Transmissive Reels” technology.

Transmissive Reels uses a transparent video overlay on top of mechanical reels to add animation to reel-spinning games. WMS was issued a patented for the technology, titled “Gaming Machine With Superimposed Display Image.” According to WMS’ lawsuit, the technology combines “the visceral appeal of mechanical-reel gaming with the visually engaging, interactive animation of video slots by projecting graphically rich video content on a display screen (e.g., LCD) over a mechanical-reel slot machine.”

In the lawsuit, WMS cites a Bally brochure issued at last year’s Global Gaming Expo to describe its “Transparent Reels” system as “combining the classic appeal of traditional mechanical reels with the visual impact of cutting-edge video effects,” and stating, “This unique interactive-reels technology superimposes dynamic video animations over standard mechanical reels. During regular play, the mechanical reels are clearly visible through the specially designed, translucent LCD display. But when a bonus sequence is triggered, or a winning combination occurs, the superimposed display comes alive with a dazzling variety of special effects for a truly unforgettable gaming experience.”

WMS says this is exactly what its patented Transmissive Reels technology is.

The WMS lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seeks injunctive relief and unspecified damages. Bally has yet to respond in the case.