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Input Devices Nintendo Patents Wii Games

Nintendo Faces Patent Suit Over the Wii 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-the-rocket-docket dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A company named Thinkoptics has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Nintendo over the motion controller used with the Wii. Apparently they make a similar product named the Wavit Remote, and they've been granted patents describing its operation. 'And they've chosen the setting most likely to yield a win: the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Texas. Now, that's not to say that Wavit-maker Thinkoptics will get a win, but this particular court circuit tends to favor the patent holder over all else. The patent in question, U.S. Patent Number 7,796,116, is titled "Electronic equipment for handheld vision based absolute pointing system." Thinkoptics' primary argument in the case is that Nintendo had previous knowledge that the Wii would infringe based on the Trademark Office's rejection of certain claims in Nintendo-filed patents.'"
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Nintendo Faces Patent Suit Over the Wii

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  • by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @08:49AM (#37338830)

    They filed in July 2005. It was apparently granted in Sep, 2010. So they only waited a year, not 5 years. And they may have waited the year because they were getting their ducks in a row, negotiating with Nintendo, or other reasons.

    I'm not saying they aren't trolling... I'm saying they may have their reasons. We don't know.

  • by rfolkker (443051) on Thursday September 08, 2011 @09:16AM (#37339104)

    This case would be a sad state of patent law if this company does win.
    While Nintendo may have been made aware of the patent when they applied for the trademark, they had already completed their development of the device before this had happened. This is not a unique situation, just rare. It would appear that the company that wrote the patent did it at the same time (or VERY close) to the announcement of the WiiMote. Which was announced 2 months after the patent was filed At the Tokyo Game Show(See: http://tgs.cesa.or.jp/2005/english/). So, considering the fact that the controller was announced, it would be a fair assumption that they did not start development on the controller within the 60 day window between a filing of a US patent, and announcing their product. Obviously Nintendo will have to prove that was infact the case, but having worked on a patent suit in the past, that part is the easy thing to prove. This whole Trademark red-herring will probably be more of an annoyance then anything.

    Also keep in mind, while the patent was filed in 2005, it wasn't published until 2006. There is no way that Nintendo could have known about this product via it's patent until they had completed their development, and started contracts for mass production for their November 2006 release. Considering the 3-5 year R&D cycle on these systems, the timeline with the patent don't line up for an infringement. However, it should give Nintendo an exception to the patent, while still allowing the company to hold it's patent (which may actually be the point of the suit, to prevent Nintendo from being identified as prior art).

    On a side note, Nintendo filed their patent in Japan one month before this other company did in the US.
    see: http://www19.ipdl.inpit.go.jp/PA1/cgi-bin/PA1DETAIL
    Publication name: 2006-331109
    Filing date: 26.05.2005
    Application Number: 2005-154233

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