News Article

Nintendo Wins Appeal in Controller Patents Case

Posted by James Newton

No infringement going on here, Officer

You may remember (if you have a watertight memory) a lawsuit arising a few years ago between Nintendo, Microsoft and a third company named Anascape, who sued both hardware manufacturers for apparently infringing their patents. Anascape won that time, netting a cool $21m from Nintendo and an undisclosed sum from Microsoft. Now, two years later, Nintendo has successfully overturned the decision through the appeals court.

It turns out now, in this recent court's opinion, that none of Nintendo's accessories infringe on Anascape's patents, though it's unclear whether this means Nintendo will receive its $21m back. Fingers crossed though, eh?

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User Comments (40)



bro2dragons said:

i say Ninty gets the 21 million back, and uses it to make Star Fox Wii, Kid Icarus Wii, and F-Zero Wii. this is the most likely outcome, right?



TrevorTheChan said:

Makes you wonder how much time and money is wasted on companies trying to blag their way into others' bank accounts.



Meta-Rift said:

I remember something about Sony suing Nintendo over the classic controller design (pretty ironic), but this doesn't ring a bell. Anyway, I'm glad this turned out like this.



grenworthshero said:

Aw, that means my Wavebird is going to go down in value if Nintendo starts making them again. Not that I was ever going to sell it anyway, but it's nice to know I have something psuedo-rare



MasterGraveheart said:

Haha! Get bent, Anascape, who needs ya?!

All right, Nintendo Legal... get working on that EarthBound case!



AVahne said:

hurray Nintendo! how can it be both the gamecube and xbox?the gamecube controller is much more comfortable



DarkLloyd said:

ah so thats what the wavebird is well its wireless and i like i can sit and relax without pulling the gamecube like in the old days or in this case the wii and the fact that i dont have to sort of sit close to it



miketh2005 said:

@grenworthshero: lol, the wavebird is by no means rare or anything close, almost everyone who owns a gamecube owns a wavebird that i know, and you can find plenty of them on ebay.



grenworthshero said:

No one I know has a wavebird, and they're hard to find if you go to GameStop or any place like that, at least where I live. Of course eBay has it; you can find anything on eBay, but it's much more expensive than the regular GCN controller, and not just because it's wireless.



jhuhn said:

If they do get the $21 million back, they should use it to invest more retro arcade games for the Virtual Console.



Burning_Spear said:

FWIW, the money is not paid if an appeal is pending. But Nintendo would have been liable for interest if the appeal was not successful.



HanuKwanzMasBif said:

21 million. Wow. I hope they get their money back and it helps development on the rumored new stuff, or the 3DS.



Token_Girl said:

@Burning Spear

Yeah, I was under the impression they hadn't paid yet either since they were appealing. I don't think there should be any issue of getting paid back unless they countersued for legal fees. I could be wrong though.

I hope they start making GCN controllers again. Those sweet white ones Japan has would be great. Especially if they put rumble back into a certain few VC games to justify selling more .



EdEN said:

Nintendo hadn't paid the 21 million since they appealed the initial court ruling. It would be fun to see what the appeals court ended up ruling because now maybe Anascape has to pay Nintendo's legal fees plus a fine.



TKOWL said:

Still nothing to Tengen suing Nintendo back in 1988 for a whopping 100 Million Dollars because they claimed they were keeping the competition out by locking their game cartriges.



Atlantis1982 said:

I actually remember when this issue sprang up years ago, and that was when I bought my second classic controller just in case the other company somehow won.



JebbyDeringer said:

Now who is gonna buy my 4 wavebirds for $150 a piece?

Maybe if I sell them as pre-lawsuit wavebirds.



stinssd said:

Get their money back? It was my understanding that until the final ruling, they wouldn't collect.



NintendoMike said:

"That would be epic if Nintendo got their money back"

Nintendo never paid any money in the first place. Here's how it works. You have your trial. The jury enters a verdict at the end (in favor of one party - in this case partially in favor of Anascape). The verdict becomes a judgment.

The loser(s) then have a limited time period to file an appeal. The appeal stays satisfaction (i.e., payment or collection) of the judgment. However, to do this, the appealing party has to post a civil bond with the appellate court (like when someone bails your ass out of jail). This secures the funds and interest should the appealing party lose.

Nintendo had to post a civil bond to proceed with the appeal, which was likely 1 1/2 times the amount Anascape was awarded.

So, the premise that James Newton (sorry James!) had, that "it's unclear whether this means Nintendo will receive its $21m back," is faulty. Nintendo never had to pay that amount in the first place, just the bond. And yes, Nintendo was awarded costs for the appeal (and other things) which Anascape will have to pay.

OK, so everyone clear now?



Sean_Aaron said:

I suspect James was joking about the refund.

In all seriousness it's great news for Nintendo. Now if the State of Texas would do something about that court that famously is a haven for patent trolls, a lot of companies would be saved a lot of bother...



SanderEvers said:

Nintendo is way awesome winning this. Now they should bring some GameCube controllers back. (They work perfectly with the Wii (MarioKart, SSBB, and more)



Token_Girl said:


I believe the first trial was by jury which is what NintendoMike was referring too. Appeals are always decided by judges though.



JebbyDeringer said:

Sadly despite Nintendo not having to pay for infringement they lost a lot in potential sales during that time period. The Wavebird is an excellent controller that they could still be selling perhaps even with rumble now that the technology has improved. Actually if the Wavebird had tilt sensors like the Wiimote it could have been used for NSMBW.



NintendoMike said:

"@NintendoMike: This is a judge's ruling, not a jury's"

I believe you're correct. It was bench trial from what I recall, not a jury trial. I almost always say jury though because I tend to think of trials like that.

In either event it wouldn't matter, for the most part, since either a judge or the jury can be the trier of fact.



Phobos said:

Nintendo! Nintendo! Honestly, Anascape are just money-stealers. Why else would they bring up a random reason to sue well-known independent game companies?

...Hey, that doesn't mean I don't not like you, Microsoft. But you're sure better than Anascape!

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