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.
Anything to try and make a quick buck, I suppose. Some companies are seriously reaching these days.
I don't get how this even counted as a patent against Nintendo in the first place.
"Judge Jones held that the patent was an improper attempt to monopolize mathematical operations, which cannot be patented."
Good. Friggin' patent trolls patenting the vaguest things in hope they can sue someone who becomes successful with it.
Miis have been active for nearly 10 years now, and the concept has been at the very least in its planning stages for 30 years now. If anyone wanted to sue Nintendo over the Mii concept, they shoulda' done it a lot sooner.
"Police sketch-artist data"...wat? How? Why? Patent troll? Patent troll.
Create a Mii is actually similar in ways to the software police use to make a suspect picture. Or at least where I live it is. Got to use it once, gave the suspect a big nose and big ears.
They would have had a better shot suing EA for their Create-A-Sim modes. At least they resemble human beings.
God, these dishonourable bottom-feeding scoundrels will do anything for a quick buck.
Aw please... As if Nintendo are not jerks too. Any companies are ''patent trolls''.
I just think Miis are fugly.
@Smokingspoon No one said that they weren't, though.
Heh, it's like the Dred Scott case (as despressing as it was by modern sensibilities). Yeah, um, I don't even have to bother with the actual case, because you guys don't have the right to file the suit in the first place. Not only did you guys just waste a bunch of money filing a meaningless law suit, but now your patent in question no longer even exists. Take that, suckers!
@shaneoh In that case, they might as well target any game that features an avatar creation system.
This is just pathetic.
@kensredemption There is no prosecution here or in most plaintiff and defendant cases. Prosecutions are usually used for criminal cases
thers a patent on police sketch data? odd
Why hasn't anyone tried suing them for the amiibos yet? lol
You're spot on with Mii's being really ok news, but you're nuts if you think it's been on their minds since not long after SMB came out. 30yrs ago would be the tail-end of 1985.
what you're suing Miis?
why sue just Miis, might as well go in the line of suing the Sims, Xbox's Avatars and other games that has created avatars etc.
LOL can you imagine holding up a pic of a mii to a cop and being like: "Officer, this is the person that robbed me." ? Pretty sure the cop would only start laughing. Also with all the other forms of creating avatars they pick the most cartoony one to pick on? Sims must not look like real people then.
@Smokingspoon If even the news media are referring to your company as "patent-assertion", then that's pretty much the cleaned-up definition of patent troll.
@Zombie_Barioth: That's exactly my point. They've been PLANNED since the Famicom Disk System. They just couldn't find a way to implement them until the Wii.
I get that, the way you worded it though made it sound like its been a perceptual work in progress sure since their first console, not something that's just been revisited over the years.
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