News Article

Nintendo Overcomes Patent Dispute With Non-Practicing Entity

Posted by Mark Green

Five year fight finally comes to a close

Way back in February 2009, Wall Wireless LLC – a company whose primary focus is to enforce patents – took Nintendo to court claiming that it had infringed a patent with the DS and DSi hardware systems. Finally, however, after the United States Patent and Trademark Office cancelled all of the patent claims that Wall Wireless was relying on for its argument, the case was dismissed in a U.S. District court in Texas on 19th May 2014. This follows the decision of the Japanese Patent office, which also found that Nintendo’s products had not violated any of Wall Wireless' Japanese patents.

Nintendo of America’s vice president and deputy general counsel, Richard Medway, had this to say on the matter:

We are very pleased to see the U.S. case dismissed, and also to have the Japanese Patent Office confirm that Nintendo does not infringe Wall’s Japanese patents. Nintendo vigorously defends patent lawsuits and other proceedings when we believe we have not infringed another party’s patents. It does not matter where such cases are filed or if it takes more than five years to vindicate our position. Nintendo continues to develop unique and innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others.

Patent disputes are common for Nintendo, of course, with the Kyoto company succeeding in the majority of reported cases, though its defeat to Tomita Technologies was a relatively rare and expensive loss. No doubt Nintendo's legal team will remain busy, with Dutch technology giant Philips recently opening proceedings.

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User Comments (36)

PvtOttobot

#2

PvtOttobot said:

Tomita Technologies's claim is fair enough, as they had previously approached Nintendo and shown them their ideas and Nintendo 'rejected' them but still gained 'inspiration' from them. However, the others (like Phillips) are just bringing up random old patents from the grave and saying that Nintendo disturbed their sleep.

Rockman

#4

Rockman said:

@PvtOttobot : The story with Philips is that they contacted nintendo asking to take a license for the infriged patents. Nintendo gave no reaction to that; for 4 years! So Philips hired a Law firm to contact Nintendo and then Nintendo's response was quite simply: you don't have anything so: go away. This thing is running since the start of 2011 and has to do with the Wii-Mote plus accessory and later the Wii-Mote plus controller. Philips used and patented the technology somewehere in het late 90's as they were testing T.V. remotes and they now use it for Medical equipment. So I think philips took the long road and tried to settle with Nintendo out-of-court but instead Nintendo ignored them.

PvtOttobot

#5

PvtOttobot said:

@Rockman I don't think they need to approach Nintendo at all, as the patents are not to do with video-games and Nintendo's (apparent) use of these technologies doesn't negatively affect Philips.

wombatkidd

#7

wombatkidd said:

@Rockman except the Wiimote itself and by extension Wii motion plus are based on technology nintendo themselves first developed in the 1980s.

Trikeboy

#8

Trikeboy said:

It's like when they tried to sue Nintendo over the dual screen of the DS but Nintendo had been doing that with the old a Game and Watch games. People just want to swim in Nintendo's money tower, Scrooge McDuck style.

Rockman

#9

Rockman said:

@PvtOttobot Videogames have nothing to do with it. If i have a company and I use patents from other companies I have to pay for it. Videogames or not.

Rockman

#10

Rockman said:

@wombatkidd If Nintendo developed that stuff in the first palace they will have a patent for that as nintendo registeres everything they develope. But a part of the the wiimote plus technology they used was already patented by Philips.

Rockman

#12

Rockman said:

@wombatkidd ofcorse.. that's why they go to court now to find out.. I know philips as a copany that is not suing anyone without a valid case so.. I think Nintendo is going to have to pay up a second company after tomita..

wombatkidd

#13

wombatkidd said:

@Rockman and I think defense 1 is going to be that they first used this technology in the power glove and Phillips is gonna get laughed our of court.

Rockman

#16

Rockman said:

@PvtOttobot Totally true! I know philips as a company that is not suing anyone without a valid case so.. I think Nintendo is going to have to pay up a second company after tomita..

Daruncic

#17

Daruncic said:

@Rockman The issue is not that they are infringing, but that companies patent things such as "An aparatus that through use of 1 or more senses may or may not create an interactive experience" which are incredibly vague and perfect for trolling.

Rockman

#18

Rockman said:

@Daruncic We all know Philips is no Patent Trolling company as they invented CD, DVD, LD, co-developing Blue-Ray.. clearly no Patent Troll..
/Ontopic: not all companies are patent trolls and try to get money from large companies. I for one know: Philips is easily 10 times the size of nintendo and is just protecting their patents. If they let Nintendo use the patent for free other companies will follow. Let's just see what happens O.K. ?

Daruncic

#19

Daruncic said:

Oh, I know phillips has a case, and is a decent company. I was more referring to the other trolls.

Unca_LzStaff

#20

Unca_Lz said:

@Rockman Philips is trying to sue with a patent that's younger than the Wii...they don't really have much of a case

Rockman

#22

Rockman said:

@Unca_Lz IF that is true; they'll lose.. what also is very possible: the patent was issued at the date in 2013 but they applied for it ages ago. sometimes a Patent takes a long time to be veriefied.

Unca_LzStaff

#23

Unca_Lz said:

@Rockman The main patent "213 (I think?)" was filed in 2009 and issued in 2011. The Wii was patented in 2005 and released in 2006.

The other patent which is much older...I have no clue how it relates to the Wii/Wii U themselves

Jmaster

#24

Jmaster said:

@PvtOttobot Actually, I believe the ex-Sony employee just got $15 million for damages or something. If i was him, I wouldn't complain!

Rockman

#25

Rockman said:

@Unca_Lz I guess we'll just have to see what happens. It seems that microsoft did take a license on one of the patents.. odd. but maybe that's why Philips feels strong enough to sue or something.. ahh well..

Picola

#27

Picola said:

Is this the same Mark Green who used to work on Ngamer magazine and it's predecessors?

AugustusOxy

#28

AugustusOxy said:

Ever since nintendo lost that case on the 3D technology of the 3DS, everyone has tried to sue them.

AVahne

#29

AVahne said:

@PvtOttobot
The problem I find with Tomita's case is that Nintendo claims that they got many various companies showing them their 3D tech. Doesn't help that his description of his tech doesn't sound very much like what's being used on the 3DS.

AltDotNerd

#31

AltDotNerd said:

So is Nintendo going to buy all their lawyers yachts and name more characters after them like they did with John Kirby? With all these (frivolous) lawsuits, we could get enough new characters for another Smash Bros game!

123akis

#33

123akis said:

come on, these patent trolls are very dumb!! Nintendo always fights back!

R_Champ

#34

R_Champ said:

Technology patents are so strange. It seems like if something is even similar they're going to try and fool some 75 year old judge who owned a black and white TV as a kid to get some company to fork over millions. Phillips isn't even using the tech for the same purpose so even if Nintendo "stole" it they obviously extensively contributed their own manpower and tech to it. The step from medical equipment to game controller is bigger than you might think.

Sony didn't get sued for PS Move, VHS, or Blu-Ray which were ALL ripped directly from similar tech. (Well someone tried to sue them for Blu-Ray).

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