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Nintendo Patents Wii

Nintendo Defeats and Assumes Control of 'Patent Troll's' Portfolio After Victory 87

Posted by Soulskill
from the thank-you-IA-Labs,-but-our-patents-are-in-another-castle! dept.
the simurgh sends this news from Gamespot: "Nintendo has acquired the entire patent portfolio of now-defunct IA Labs following its victory in court, the Japanese gaming giant has announced. Nintendo obtained the patents during a sheriff's sale in Montgomery County, Maryland on Tuesday. IA Labs originally sued Nintendo for patent infringement in 2010, claiming the Mario maker's Wii controller and Wii Fit technology infringed on two separate IA Labs patents. Nintendo successfully defended itself as part of a court battle in 2012, also winning various fees related to the case. IA Labs appealed the ruling, but an appellate court sided with Nintendo in June 2013. At this point, IA Labs was ordered to pay Nintendo additional fees, and when the company failed to do so, a sheriff's sale was commenced."
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Nintendo Defeats and Assumes Control of 'Patent Troll's' Portfolio After Victory

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2014 @12:14PM (#45926453)

    A thoughtful, informative, useful post. Thank you.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @01:20PM (#45926769) Journal

    If two "practitioners skilled in the art" come up with the same idea independently, it SHOULD automatically invalidate the patent. That is part of the patent language, is it not?

  • by Fnord666 (889225) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @01:47PM (#45926925) Journal

    IA labs made actual products similar to wii-fit and met with Nintendo to discuss making Wii accessories using their technology at about the time the 3DS was to be released. IA then found out that Nintendo made the accessories themselves, apparently "stealing the ideas" that IA presented to them. So that's not what we'd normally call a patent troll.

    I agree. Based on this [gamespot.com] article, Interactive Labs held the original patents and made products based on those patents. iA Labs acquired the patents later, then sued Nintendo with them. I think this was actually a defensive measure by Interactive Labs.

    On April 2(2010), IA Labs filed suit against Nintendo in the United States District Court of Maryland. The suit claims that Nintendo has willfully infringed upon IA Labs patents with Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus, and the Wii Balance Board, as well as the Wii Remote, Wii Nunchuk, Wii MotionPlus, Wii Wheel, and Wii Zapper. The company acquired the aforementioned patents in 2009 from Interaction Labs.

    The fitness-technology company claims that the patents have been used in a number of products in the past. As detailed in the filing, Interaction Labs released the Kilowatt Sport and Exer-Station, both of which add a workout element to "any off-the-shelf video game on the PlayStation, Xbox, GameCube, or PC."

    Both the patents and the products based on those patents were created by Interaction Labs. Interaction Labs held discussions with Nintendo in 2007 and 2008. iA Labs acquired the patents in 2009 and then sued Nintendo in 2010. iA Labs doesn't seem to have actually produced anything. One interesting thing to note is the following:

    The suit also notes that then-Interaction Labs president and current IA Labs chief technology officer Greg Merril contacted Nintendo on a number of occasions in 2007 and 2008, through personal meetings and via e-mail. However, Merril's attempt to enter into a licensing agreement with Nintendo ultimately resulted in the publisher ceasing contact in late 2008.

    One possibility is that iA Labs may have been spun off by Interactive Labs solely for the purpose of protecting the rest of Interactive Labs from an outcome like this.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]

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