Nintendo Wins Controller Lawsuit

March 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Patent Litigation

wiimote_nunchuckIn 2007, Fenner Investments Ltd. filed a lawsuit against Nintendo, claiming that the video game giant infringed on patents relating to game controllers.  The suit, which was set to begin today, has been dismissed by a federal court, reports VentureBeat.

Nintendo stated that it is pleased with the court’s decision, but the company has previously dealt with similar lawsuits.  Nintendo is currently involved in another suit that accuses their Wiimote of infringing patents related to motion control technology.  Nintendo also lost a case last year against Anascape Ltd., after the Gamecube and Classic controllers were found to infringe on patents.

Fenner has been accused of being a “patent troll,” because they buy up patents and attempt to extract licensing fees from bigger companies. In their suit against Nintendo, Fenner had targeted Gamecube and Wii game controllers.

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Nintendo Asks Trade Office To Fight Piracy

February 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Electronics, Patent Litigation

mario_luigiIn its annual report to the U.S. Trade Office, Nintendo has asked for help in dealing with overseas piracy.  The list contains most of the usual countries, with Spain being the new offender.  In addition, Hong Kong was taken completely off the list.  Will this list accomplish much in stopping piracy overseas?  That answer is up for debate, but in the meantime, here is a summary of the countries that were named as reported by Kotaku:

China – Nintendo claims that online shopping sites that sell infringing Nintendo products are increasing.  These products are not only sold to customers in China, but also to those in the United States.

Korea – While internet piracy in Korea continues, 10 customs raids at the beginning of this year resulted in the seizure of more than 75,000 game copiers.

Brazil – Nintendo claims that efforts to prosecute for piracy are very weak, as not a single shipment of Nintendo video game products were seized in 2008.  In addition to internet piracy, high tariffs and taxes make barriers for official Nintendo products.

Mexico – According to Nintendo, anti-piracy actions taken by the Mexican government in 2008 are inadequate.  While Mexico is participating in negotiating the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, there must be more enforcement.

Spain – There is an incredible amount of game-copying devices and illegal Nintendo software available.  Nintendo is asking the Spanish government to protect the copyright industry and enact laws against internet piracy.

Paraguay – Nintendo’s anti-piracy actions showed that illegal goods are both being imported and produced in this country.  Nintendo cites corruption as the reason that anti-piracy efforts in Paraguay have not been effective.

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Sony, Nokia, and Nintendo Sued over Wireless Tech

February 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Electronics, Patent Litigation

nintendo_dsOn February 13, Wall Wireless LLC filed a lawsuit against Sony, Nintendo and Nokia.  As reported by Computer and Video Games, the lawsuit alleges that Sony’s PSP, Nintendo’s DS, as well as other real-time online multiplayer games infringe on Wall’s wireless patent.  Wall also claims that Nokia’s mobile devices infringe on their patent, as well as the mobile game Reset Generation.

The patent in question is titled, “Method and Apparatus for Creating and Distributing Real-Time Interactive Media Content through Wireless Communication Networks and the Internet.”  The patents were filed in 2001, and were granted by the USPTO in 2003.  The lawsuit states that all of the defendants received a notice of the patent in October 2008, but none of the companies have yet to take a license under the patent.

Wall Wireless is seeking damages, costs, expenses, attorney’s fees and pre-judgment and post-judgment interest.

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Nintendo Patents No-Player Game System

January 15, 2009 by  
Filed under New Patents

nintendoTired of never getting past a certain level on a video game?  Wish the game could show you what to do?  Well your prayers have been answered.  Nintendo recently patented a game that can play itself.  While critics have claimed this patent would be nothing more than a movie, the patent describes a system aimed at assisting casual gamers through complex games.

According to Kotaku, the patent would turn a gamre into a full-length cut scene, allowing players to jump in and out of action when they wished.  However, gamers would not be able to save their progress, which maintains the challenge of completing a game without skipping or cheating.  Also, players would be able to bring up in-game hint videos and skip directly to particular scenes in games.

The patented game is broken down into three playing options:

1. Game - Players would be able to play the game the normal way, but they can bring up video hints when they wish.

2. Digest – This option would allow people to watch a video of developers playing through the game, laying out the storyline.  At any time the player would be able to jump into action.

3. Scene Menu – This would allow gamers to skip directly to a specific scene.

If the game is successful, it could help gamers play a game without having to take a large chunk out of their life to do so.  The worst case scenario for this game is that it turns into a glorified demo.

Now, all we need is a TV that can watch itself!

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Nintendo Settles Nunchuk Dispute

December 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Patent Litigation

Nintendo of America Inc. and Nyko Technologies, Inc. have settled their pending lawsuit regarding technologies in the Wiimote.  As reported on Business Wire, Nintendo initially filed the suit after claiming that Nyko had infringed on their intellectual property rights relating to the popular Nunchuk controller.

The agreement did not disclose any financial details, but it was announced that Nyko will continue to sell a redesigned version of its Kama wireless controller.  As Herschel Naghi, the CEO of Nyko, said regarding the decision, “Nyko Technologies is proud to be an industry leader in gaming accessories, and we will continue to develop exciting products for the benefit of the gaming community.”

Equally as pleased in the settlement was Reggie Fils-Aime, the President and COO of Nintendo of America.  He said, “We are pleased to have resolved this dispute.  The Nunchuk and Wii brands are familiar to consumers worldwide and Nintendo is dedicated to vigorous defense of those brands.”

Nintendo’s describes itself as the worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment.  Since 1983, they have sold 2.8 billion video games and more than 480 million hardware units globally.  Nyko, founded in 1995, develops, manufactures, and markets innovative peripherals to enhance the digital lifestyle.  They specialize in interactive entertainment, computing, and consumer electronics.

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USPTO Suspends “Wii Remote” Trademark

December 3, 2008 by  
Filed under New Patents

As recently reported by GamePolitics.com, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has suspended Nintendo’s application to trademark the “Wii Remote.”  In the letter, the USPTO states the reason for the suspension is due to the word “remote,” and how it is far too common a word for a trademark.

Although the USPTO letter couldn’t have been good news, all is not lost for the console manufacturer.  The letter states that if Nintendo disclaims its ownership of the term “remote,” except when used in “Wii Remote,” it is possible that the USPTO will accept that trademark filing.

So why doesn’t Wii just market their remote as the “Wiimote?”  Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

A Florida-based company, Fobis Technology, currently owns the rights to “Weemote” for their production of a remote control for children.  Nintendo and Fobis have previously tried to negotiate a deal, but were unsuccessful.  Will Nintendo’s current road block facilitate some more discussion between the two companies?

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