News Article

Nintendo Succeeds in Wii Fit Balance Board Patent Appeal

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Original decision in the company's favour is upheld

Nintendo, and particularly the Wii, have faced a number of patent challenges in recent years. In most cases Nintendo has emerged as the victor, with a loss on the 3DS screen technology being a rare blip. The big N has faced challenges to its Wii Remote, in particular, and various devices and gizmos that others claim are part of a patent that they already own.

One such claim was from IA Labs, which attempted to prove that the Wii Balance Board was infringing on a rowing machine-style apparatus, with the focus on pressure points functioning as sensors. That case was thrown out in March 2012 without a jury, and prompted Rick Flamm, Nintendo of America's senior vice president of Legal & General Counsel, to rather boldly state that "we refuse to succumb to patent trolls".

IA Labs didn't give up, however, taking the decision to Appeals court. Thankfully for Nintendo this particular saga is over, as it's confirmed in a press release that the appeal has been unsuccessful, with IA Labs also being forced to pay the company's legal fees.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld Nintendo’s victory in a patent-infringement case brought against Nintendo by IA Labs CA, LLC. The Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court that Nintendo did not infringe IA Labs’ patent (U.S. Patent No. 7,121,982), and it upheld the lower court’s ruling that IA Labs must pay Nintendo more than $236,000 in attorneys’ fees.

“We are very pleased with the court’s decision,” said Richard Medway, Nintendo of America’s deputy general counsel. “Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others. We also vigorously defend patent lawsuits, like the IA Labs lawsuit, when we firmly believe that we have not infringed another party’s patent.”

Yet another Wii technology patent victory for Nintendo, and the Balance Board will have no distribution or legal issues ahead of the launch later this year of Wii Fit U.

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User Comments (16)



TOMBOY25 said:

"IA Labs must pay Nintendo more than $236,000 in attorneys’ fees" OUCH bet they wished they'd stopped.



Thearnaud44 said:

I would love to be Nintendo's next lawyer in line just to defend them with my passion and my heart ( and discounts on games ).



dumedum said:

yay. The balance board is ingenious. I'm always at awe at its accuracy and sensitivity. Nothing like it.



marck13 said:

I'm looking forward to Wii Fit U and I believe it will set new standards for these kinds of games! I got Wii Fit and the Balanceboard not very long ago and it can really be a fun way to get your self moving.



ToadFan said:

Does anyone know if Wii Fit U will be more like a proper $50-60 sequel to Wii Fit and be like a Wii Fit 2 or will it be just another extension of the game like Wii Fit Plus?



unrandomsam said:

@dumedum It is a bathroom scale with bluetooth it is evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

Horizon Riders is good with the balance board. (It is used as a hoverboard).

So is Punch Out.

Nothing else seems to use it very well. (Stuff like just dance that should obviously use it doesn't bother at all).



unrandomsam said:


Proper sequel doesn't mean much. (I would say Super Mario Bros hasn't had a proper sequel since World. (I don't count Yoshi's island as a sequel despite its name))

I would say Super Mario Bros 3 -> World is a proper sequel.

Mario Galaxy -> Mario Galaxy 2 still both are great but I would rather have just had a single game with the story of the first and the better mechanics of the second.

A proper sequel for wii fit for me would introduce more hardware to do more stuff.



Sir_Deadly said:

@ToadFan Well, when i saw the trailer to Wii Fit U it looked more like games and sports oriented. Actually to think about it, it looked more like a Wii Sports type games just with the balance board. I nvr had Wii Fit soo idk if thats how the first one was, but Wii Fit U looks fun to play while getting in shape.

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