In a new statement (Japanese), Nintendo has confirmed that its patent infringement lawsuit filed against Colopl and its 'White Cat Project' mobile game has now been settled, with Colopl agreeing to pay an undisclosed figure.
If you need a quick catch up, the case can be traced back to as early as September 2016. A couple of months after White Cat Project's launch, Nintendo noted that the game had – in the company's opinion – infringed on several of its technology patents, and after having no luck via informal communication, eventually filed a lawsuit which asked for $40 million in damages.
At the time, Colopl revealed that Nintendo had claimed that five tech patent rights had been violated in the game, including one which was suspected to involve the Nintendo DS Wrist Strap's joystick-on-touch-panel technology. Bizarrely, despite the ongoing case, a game from the series was revealed to be destined for a release on Switch.
There's been a bit of back and forth ever since, mostly as a result of Nintendo asking for more compensation due to case's ever-extending timeframe, but things have now come to a close. While Nintendo's statement notes that finer details of the settlement can't be shared "due to confidentiality obligations," newsdirectory3 reports that it involves a 3.3 billion yen payout (approx. $30.2m USD).
30 million?! Wow surely that's enough to develop a new F-zero X?
The game coming to the Switch is a new game. And so far as I know, it's still being developed. It was scheduled for release in 2020 but got delayed.
I guess it's fair. Nintendo is such a small indie company, they need all the money they can during these tough times /s
"Nintendo DS Wrist Strap's joystick-on-touch-panel technology" ...what the hell, how on earth can a mobile game infringe that? Are all touchscreen joysticks in games held under such scrutiny?
Maybe part of the deal was that colopl would bring their next game to the Switch?
why would a phone game be using a wrist strap?
And it would be amazingly petty for Nintendo to care.
@Doofenshmirtz Big companies become and remain big companies by protecting their IP. Small companies become big companies by developing and protecting their own ideas and IP rather than stealing IP from other people. The laws that protected Nintendo in this case are the same that stop a big company stealing IP from a smaller one and driving them out of business.
@Eddy9000 you're right in theory but how many times have we seen big companies jack other people's stuff without even asking and once caught they just say "oopsie doopsie, we're sorry"? when a small company or an individual even think about doing the same they're happy if they get away with just a cease and desist
Twinkle Popo man
Kind of funny they're seeking such high damages for one of their worst ideas. That wrist strap virtual joystick thing was so awful. If some other company would potentially take credit for it, I'd say let them.
You certainly don't want to mess with nintendo lawyer ninjas, gulp!
@Xiovanni @Doofenshmirtz I was worried there for a second, ‘cause I know the Switch is BARELY selling, so it must be tough for small indie studios like Nintendo to make a living. I heard they even had to get food donations on Patreon so they could feed their starving programmer, Sakurai. They almost fired him too, because his latest project (smash something?) barely made the company any profit.
This is all 100% true and verifiable because my cousin’s pet cat works for Nintendo and I pet that cat yesterday and it told me so.
I am so happy for nintendo. Too bad for all the hackers and mod makers and theives. I hope that company goes out of business now. Crooks do not deserve any thing big or small. So great job nintendo chalk another win up for the good guys.
Based on the art, I'd say Nihon Falcom have a case here too
"Stealing is OK if it's from a big company!" <--- half this thread.
@Eddy9000 While you’re absolutely correct, I just knew someone here would come in jumping to Nintendo’s defence. Just like so many fans who actually want to pay 60 dollars for ten-year-old games.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Nintendo’s games, but like just about every other multi-billion-dollar company, they sure are greedy for more. What a world we live in huh.
I didn't think Nintendo could also be a patent troll, but here we are...
@FantasiaWHT stealing what?? Do you have any idea of how many patents exist in the world, and that you can infringe one or more without even knowing it?? Moreover many of those patents are just bullsh##...
They dumped that lame thumb pad almost immediately and it was buried even more after the DS Lite didn’t include it on top of that it was designed for a resistive touchscreen.
@tntswitchfan68 You're congratulating a corporation for a win over a product almost nobody even remembers (and was even abandoned shortly after its creation, if that should tell you how valuable a creation it was), if they are even aware of (the wrist strap on the OG DS. They dropped it by the time DS Lite was launched, about a year and a half later), and over twelve years after the fact?
@FantasiaWHT No, we are saying that patent trolling is not okay.
Stealing =/= patent infringement, by the way. The laws are also different from country to country. Just saying!
@Ham-n-jam yeah this is the part that’s confusing to me. Almost every 3D mobile phone game uses some sort of touch joystick control scheme, what makes this one so similar that they made a lawsuit out of it? I wanna know what the other patent infringements are. They’re probably super technical but it just seems weird how high profile this case got and the “most relevant” patent we see is a control scheme that thousands of mobile games use.
@Grahamthecracker I want to know the same thing, but they aren't release that information to the general public due to "privacy considerations," lol. Sounds like they probably shouldn't have won the case, but they may have hired a good attorney/team of attorneys.
It's still blood-thirsty. Like you said, it's what companies do. It's just so weird seeing nintendo act much like every other big company out there. I suppose that's just what they are now - big, powerful, intimidating, publicly traded company.
I think it just throws people off because Nintendo for the longest time was a company that showed friendly vibes, had humility and all that stuff. I don't blame them for going after the pirates and protecting their ip, but I still think they take it too far sometimes.
@CactusMan this mobile game tells you to use a wrist strap to control it on a phone that doesn’t come with a wrist strap? If you click on the link it’s just referencing using a touch screen as a controller not specifically the wrist strap. “ One of these patents is said to involve operating a joystick over the touch panel, presumably referring to the Nintendo DS Wrist Strap which allowed players to use the touchscreen as a joystick thanks to its thumb pad.” that’s the original quote from the other article they’re just referencing the time that Nintendo uses this patent prominently.
@KingMike Yes. Over someone who broke the law.
The Nintendo page actually provides the patent numbers, so I tried to look them up.
3637031: Displaying icons to show positions of player/enemies/items hidden behind terrain
3734820: A virtual joystick which isn't limited to a specific area, but if an input starts within the joystick area, then will still accept input that continues outside the joystick area
4010533: A sleep mode which requires multi-button input to awaken from, to prevent waking on unintentional single button presses
4262217: A touch screen control system where you can gather characters into a group by drawing a ring around them, and then command the group as a single unit
5595991: A game which locally transfers friend code data so that later, you can connect to the same person over the internet
6271692: 5595991 but with "game" replaced with "game and control method"
IGN Japan have an interesting page about it, including a video showing just how they changed the 'virtual joystick' thing: https://jp.ign.com/nintendo/53718/news/33
It seems that the potentially-infringing virtual joystick thing let you use charged attacks by swiping (extending your touch) on the virtual joystick outside of the joystick area.
The replaced version... looks like it does exactly the same thing, but now the charged attacks are technically separate buttons which you just happen to touch by swiping from the joystick area. And to prove it, you can move the buttons.
The 3.3 billion yen figure is also from Colopl's press release, linked on IGN's page. The press release states they're reporting a 3.3 billion yen loss in the 3rd quarter of 2021 concerning the lawsuit.
@bluesun oof those feel really generic from my point of view but I don’t know how to create a video game or understand patent law so.
Oh no! Huge company A has to give huge company B some money, oh the humanity!
@Doofenshmirtz what are you implying here?
Companies should allow their copyright and patents to just be completely infringed upon and do nothing?
Isn't it possible that Nintendo's defending their patents here (and is right to do so) while also finding the pettiness of dragging out a lawsuit over patents that they don't use anymore is a bit silly while also thinking that Nintendo is probably throwing their weight around as a big corporation while Colopi probably doesn't have nearly as good lawyers while ALSO recognising that tons of small upstart patent troll operations exist soley to try to poach money from companies like Nintendo whose gold standard fun-making devices are all about their patents while ALSO recognising that the law only exists as it does because companies like Nintendo have been fighting tooth and nail to protect their generic patents alongside their specific ones while ALSO recognising that a very specific patent like the layout of the SNES controller can become generic and semi-public domain due to very slight variations that succeeded at calling themselves different and now are so prolific within the industry that you can't really call it Nintendo's patented controller design anymore when every other company is using a slight variation of the SNES or its little sibling the Sony Dual Shock and calling it a Pro Controller?
My point by all this is that it's likely more complicated than Ninty good, Colopi bad or Colopi good Ninty bad. That doesn't mean it's not worth parsing the information to produce a defined narrative about the situation - that's what all reporters have to do if they're worth their salt - to cut through the jargon and deliver a message that distills it down to why this matters so much that a company paid another company 3.3B-en in damages. But it's just as important to not lose that complexity as we search for a narrative. And I'm afraid there are two developing factions of commenters above me that seem to jump over that complexity and just choose a side (pretty common for comments sections of a Nintendo news website when Nintendo is in the news regarding lawsuits - you'll have the fans of the company and the people who love the product but hate the makers and people who just want to see the the commenters consume each other and light a match in the comments.
We don't have all the facts here. But the narrative being driven about this case is that Nintendo's patent lawyers are once again triumphant, but perhaps this time it wasn't necessarily a good thing. Some folks will say it's never a good thing and others will say it's always a good thing. I think there's room for shades of grey.
@Eddy9000 Shhh dont tell him that. let the hater glorify his comment for not understanding basic law
@marandahir Its called integrity. If nintendo will just drop anything all because they dont use the technology they have created, any small company can just steal nintendo tech and pass it off without any consequence because "nintendo will be dropping it cause the tech is not being used by them anymore"
@Doofenshmirtz I hope there was supposed to be sarcasm lol
@FoulLegacy oh yeah don't worry, that was sarcasm lol
We don't seem to have a huge amount of details on the case and the case seems a bit bizarre in the first place. But why can't both big corps and mobile developers & publishers themselves lack innocence in this case or any?
Remember, patent trolling is only good when Nintendo does it.
@Doofenshmirtz square soft is a big indie. So indie they handle their own publishing and distribution. But one could argue they aren't an indie when they're a publicly traded company.
@pepepopo there was a time when big companies would let little companies infringe on their copyrights. Disney was one who let it slide if a daycare was using their properties, even their character names. Then... When people wanted to sue the little companies, they felt the big companies must own them, they let their franchises be used by the little companies. So they'd sue the big companies when their kid breaks their leg at the Mickey mouse daycare center when Disney had nothing to do with the center.
Most of those are like... 99% of mobile games honestly. They're so vague and so everywhere that I'm genuinely just baffled.
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