It looks as if the saga of Seijiro Tomita's patent case against the Nintendo 3DS is finally coming to an end. The United States Appeals Court has just confirmed that handheld console does not use technology covered in a patent asserted by Tomita Technologies USA, Inc. and Tomita Technologies International, Inc, stating that the 3DS uses technology that is "significantly different" from that covered in the patent.
This marks the end of several years of litigation which began when former Sony staffer Tomita sued Nintendo back in 2013, claiming that he had showed a prototype of his 3D screen technology to Nintendo officials at the company's headquarters in 2003. He stated that Nintendo had used the ideas behind his technology without paying him the proper licence.
Tomita's legal action appeared to have gained results, as in March of 2013 he won his case against Nintendo, settling for $30.2 million in damages. Almost immediately Nintendo went on the offensive, and launched an appeal which saw the case back in court. In April last year, it was ruled by the New York Federal Court that Nintendo had not infringed on Tomita's patent.
This new ruling - by the US Appeals Court - follows a failed attempt by Tomita to enforce a similar patent claim in his native Japan.
Here's what Ajay Singh, Nintendo of America's Director of Litigation and Compliance, had to say:
We are very pleased with the Court's decision. Nintendo 3DS has never used the technology in Tomita's patent, and the Court's ruling confirms Nintendo's long tradition of using its own innovative technology. This case also proves once again that Nintendo will aggressively defend patent lawsuits when our products do not infringe, even when we must do so over many years, through multiple trials and in multiple countries.
The message here seems simple - don't find yourself in a courtroom with Nintendo, because even when it loses, it eventually wins.