Want the Mii patent? Nintendo will fight you for it...
Want the Mii patent? Nintendo will fight you for it...

Nintendo battles its share of patent cases in the courts; some are serious challenges against major companies, and the big N has even lost a few over the years. A lot of the time, however, it sees off claims from smaller companies, particularly those that seemingly take ownership of rather generic patents and try to apply them to cases against major corporations.

A recent case is definitely in the latter category, and is slightly crazy to boot. We'll let the following excerpt of Nintendo's patent tell the story.

Nintendo has prevailed in a patent case in Seattle federal court concerning the company's Mii characters. Judge Richard A. Jones found that U.S. Patent No. 8,005,303, which relates to ways of storing police sketch-artist data, was invalid. RecogniCorp LLC, a patent-assertion company, filed this case in 2011, claiming that the Mii characters used on Nintendo's systems, including Wii U, Wii and Nintendo 3DS, infringed the patent.

Judge Jones held that the patent was an improper attempt to monopolize mathematical operations, which cannot be patented. The Judge therefore did not need to rule directly on Nintendo's non-infringement arguments.

It seems bizarre, but such is the litigious world of patent law. It also reminds us of a humorous story from 2009 in which Japanese police used a Mii image on a wanted poster, apparently seeking someone for a hit and run. Whether it was the suspect's actual Mii or a bizarre use of the Nintendo system to create a composite image, maybe it gave the folks behind RecogniCorp LLC ideas.