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Nintendo Faces Switch Patent Infringement Investigation In the US (engadget.com) 63

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Nintendo is under investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission, and the fate of the Switch hangs in the balance. Gamevice, the company behind the Wikipad and a line of snap-on controllers for mobile devices, says the Nintendo Switch violates its patents on attachable handheld gamepads and their related accessories. Alleging violations of the Tariff Act of 1930, Gamevice is requesting a cease and desist order against Nintendo, a move that would halt imports of the Switch into the U.S. The USITC notes that while its investigation has begun, it hasn't ruled on the validity of the complaint. The commission will hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether Nintendo is in violation of the Tariff Act, with a final decision "at the earliest practicable time." The USITC will announce a target date for the end of the investigation within 45 days.
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Nintendo Faces Switch Patent Infringement Investigation In the US

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  • From Wikipedia... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ELCouz ( 1338259 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @07:28PM (#56538752)
    In August 2017, Gamevice filed a patent lawsuit in California against the Nintendo Switch for alleged patent infringement.[1]. They would later dismiss the lawsuit voluntarily in October of the same year.

    What happening now?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nintendo promised money if it didn't go to court.

      Nintendo didn't pay, obviously.

    • Re:From Wikipedia... (Score:5, Informative)

      by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @10:05PM (#56539376)

      Gamevice filed a second suit in California on March 29 of this year alleging infringement of two patents different than the one they asserted in the 2017 case. They then filed the ITC complaint a day later based on the same two patents.

      That's a common play for big competitors. As the summary says, the ITC can issue an exclusion order so the products physically can't enter the U.S. anymore. That's an extreme remedy that became a lot harder to get in a federal court around a decade ago, so the ITC has become a lot more popular forum. But you can't get money damages in the ITC, so patentholders often file parallel suits in both forums. The federal court case will be stayed (put on hold) while the ITC investigates, and then after the stay is lifted Gamevice can litigate in federal court for money damages.

  • Eh prior art... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ecuador ( 740021 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @07:41PM (#56538804) Homepage

    Gamevice probably dismissed their lawsuit voluntarily because they have a patent filed in 2013 and not only it is quite different from the Switch (it is a single piece), but it is also very similar to things that preceded it, most obviously the Razor Edge which was released about the time they filed their patent (coincidence?).

    Now idea how that new avenue they are seeking though ITC works... Wish them luck - very BAD luck.

    Not that I wouldn't enjoy small companies sticking it to the big guys, but patent abuse is bad either way.

    • That's Razer Edge obviously, but Apple devices like to correct things because they know better ...

    • by tempmpi ( 233132 )

      There should be even earlier examples of prior art, e.g.
      a gamepad for a PalmOS PDA from 2000 [the-gadgeteer.com].

    • What? Someone is making money? Quick! scour our patents for something obscure we can use to milk money from them!

      The whole idea about patents was to *make money* with an invention for some period of time. Doing a quick search on Gamevice and looking at their site, they don't look to have anything above and beyond what Moga, Pyrus and a slew of others have made for android/iphone. The difference here is a phone is inserted into the controllers, almost like two partial cases that only wrap around a fraction o

  • Patent number (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @08:06PM (#56538864) Journal
    The patent is 9,126,119 [google.com]. Not sure how this is different than a portable keyboard and mouse on a tablet, but I didn't read the primary claim too carefully.
    • by jrumney ( 197329 )
      The numbering on the claims is all screwed up. It seems they removed one at some stage, and forgot to update the references - with the result that they probably haven't patented what they think they did. In particular, where the communication port is wireless, they have only specifically protected it for the case where the communication port is fibre optic. Of course it should theoretically still be covered under claim 1, but that is going to be a more difficult case for them to argue, as it will come dow
    • Thank you for looking up the patent. Based upon that priority date of 2012, and the incredible specificity of the patent, I tend to wonder if perhaps Nintendo could win this based upon prior art for the various sub-components, as I don't see how you can justify a patent which basically amounts to putting Widget A (which has prior art) alongside Widget B (which also has prior art). If the patent amounts solely to combining the two, than that's not much of an innovation; that's just an intuitively logical pro

  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @09:31PM (#56539242)


    I really don't see how someone can invent a new widget, or a process, or a sprocket these days without running afoul of someone else's " idea ".
    Hundreds of millions of people all coming up with " ideas " over the years eventually means there is a limit to the number of original ideas that are out there.
    Because, no matter the method to get there, if the end result is too similar to someone else's result, you're pretty much a litigation target.

    Those who haven't come up with the idea already will have to tip-toe through the Minefield of Lawyers in the hopes their idea isn't covered by some obscure patent, trademark or registration by some guy named Bob who claims to have invented the internet in 1952 :|


  • Playstation 3 Controller Lawsuit anyone ?

I've got a bad feeling about this.