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.