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In one of the strangest turn of events we've witnessed for a while, Japanese publisher SEGA is suing Professor Layton studio Level-5 over the use of touch control patents on the Nintendo DS handheld.

Japanese news site Yomiuri Online broke the news, revealing that SEGA was taking action to protect two patents it had "acquired" relating to the process of controlling on-screen characters with a finger or pen.

SEGA is seeking ¥900 million in damages, and wants all eight Inazuma Eleven games removed from sale.

It doesn't look like Level-5 is taking the action lying down, and has stated:

We are preparing our rebuttal and do not have any comments to make at this time.

This is quite a bizarre situation - you have to wonder how SEGA is able to possess patents for touch control on a system it doesn't manufacture, and what's so special about these patents that they don't relate to all the hundreds of other Nintendo DS games which use similar control methods?

We'll keep you updated on this legal battle as and when we have more news.