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Nintendo Obtains IA Labs Patent Portfolio Following Lawsuit Win

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Balance board technology weighed in

Nintendo is often engaged in multiple patent disputes, in various cases surviving the challenges though — in notable examples such as the recent case against Tomita Technologies USA — can occasionally come out on the wrong side. Nintendo does have another success to report, however, with progress in the case involving IA Labs.

IA Labs claimed that technology in the Wii Fit board — primarily that of pressure points functioning as sensors — was violating one of its patents. The case was launched in 2010 but thrown out in Nintendo's favour in March 2012, before a subsequent appeal was also won by Nintendo. As detailed in a press release issued by Nintendo, IA Labs failed to pay the company's costs following that appeal ruling, and as a result Nintendo has now received its full patent catalogue as partial repayment.

Below is an extract from the press release.

IA Labs appealed the trial court’s ruling. The appeals court confirmed Nintendo’s win in June 2013. IA Labs was further ordered to pay Nintendo additional costs incurred in defending the appeal. IA Labs did not pay the amount due, so a sheriff’s sale was conducted to sell IA Labs’ remaining assets, including its patent portfolio. Nintendo obtained IA Labs’ entire patent portfolio at that sale as partial repayment for litigation costs.

“Nintendo’s track record demonstrates that we vigorously defend patent lawsuits, like the IA Labs lawsuit, when we believe we have not infringed another party’s patent. This includes holding those who sue Nintendo responsible for the costs and expenses incurred in patent litigation,” said Richard Medway, Nintendo of America’s vice president and deputy general counsel. “Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others.”

So there you have it, one more case in Nintendo's favour. It can't win them all, but was proven right this time around.

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User Comments (27)



Guybrush20X6 said:

Ouch for IA Labs.

The lesson here is never get in a big patent suit without either funds to cover yourself if you loose or a plane ticket for the next flight to Brazil.



unrandomsam said:

It depends how many patents they had.

Quite a few of the patent trolls work for other companies causing hassle for competitors.

Given that they are lawyers it will more than likely be one holding company with about 5 patent litigation companies with all the cash going to the holding company that will be fine. (Not too different to the Two Tribes arrangement). Or just one and then a new one will be open shortly.

If the patents are worth less than is owed it is an obvious thing to do rather than pay the fine.



DreamOn said:

Still lookin to challenge the big dog on the Nintendo porch, iLife? lol (they are, don't worry)



MadAdam81 said:

I think Nintendo would have preferred the money, unless the actual value of the patents was higher than the fire sale value



Undead_terror said:

Nintendo is like a zombie survivor while these lawsuits are like zombies, they keep trying to harm Nintendo and come in numbers.



Discostew said:

Patent Trolls - kids taunting the dog in the yard
Nintendo - the dog in the yard

What the kids don't realize is that there is no chain holding the dog back and no fence around the yard.



Einherjar said:

@unrandomsam The thing is, if you as a manufacturer loose your entire patent portfolie, you could just cease to exist entirely, because making any more of that stuff youre used to make now can get YOU in trouble because someone else is now the legitimate owner of these "ideas".
It may not be the most profitable lawsuit loot but it sets an example for others. Its not money you may loose, its the right to produce your ideas, and that will definitly hurt more in the long run.



Ralizah said:

"I drink your milkshake! I DRINK IT UP!"

Sorry, first thing that came to mind.



Assassinated said:

Hang on let me get this straight, IA Labs sues Nintendo for infringing on one of its patents. They lose and have to pay for Nintendo's lawyers which cost more than the worth of every single one of their patents?! And now Nintendo holds the patent they were being sued over!?



Morph said:

@unrandomsam yes but nintendo would have to be interested in the patents first to agree to take them as part payment, so there must be something of interest to them, or maybe theres patents that will help back up their own in the case of any future challenges



unrandomsam said:

@Einherjar It is not done like that though. The patents are transferred usually just a few to a holding company that starts suing people. (And usually only the ones that are not very good that are sold anyway).

The US is trying to change it so you can find out who transferred them etc but at the moment you cannot.



Nico07 said:

@Guybrush20X6 Their company was most likely already going under and it was a last ditch effort to try and get some cash. Too bad for them as ya don't mess with Mario yo!



TheLilK98 said:

Some people aren't getting the whole PARTIAL repayment part. As in Nintendo gets the patents AND the rest of the money. Also, hopefully this will discourage some patent trolls(ILife) but probably not.

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