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Philips Demands Bans on Wii Products

On Friday, England and Wales High Court ruled that Nintendo infringed on motion sensor patents created by the Philips company, makers of the infamous CD-I system.

The patents in question relate to “a hand held pointing device used to control electrical apparatus,” “devices with a camera and a physical motion sensor working with a computer system and a pointing device,” and “gesture analysis…based on the motion trajectory of the device” that can be used in collaboration with a gaming device.  This brings Nintendo’s Wii products (Wii, Wii U, Wii Mini, and several controllers) into hot legal waters. Wii Tennis was used as an example of a Nintendo product using technology described in these patents.

Philips also claims Nintendo infringed on their patents in a “deliberate and willful” way by teaching players how to use these devices that Nintendo knew infringed on these patents, and indeed, the courts found Nintendo to be infringing on two of Philips’ patents. Philips has requested a jury trial seeking damages, and is demanding a halt on U.S. imports and sales of Wii related devices. As of yet there is no ruling on whether this ban will go forward.

A Nintendo representative says the company plans to appeal the decision.

“Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others,” the representative commented. “Nintendo is committed to ensuring that this judgment does not affect continued sales of its highly acclaimed line of video game hardware, software, and accessories and will actively pursue all such legitimate steps as are necessary to avoid any interruptions to its business.”

This is another patent lawsuit loss for Nintendo, as last year a jury ruled that Nintendo’s 3DS violated patents by former Sony inventor Seijiro Tomita. He was initially awarded $30.2 million in damages, but the damages were later cut in half.

Source: Gamespot

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  1. InZ0mbiac says:

    So wait, Phillips claims that player tutorials to use the wii makes the infringement that much worse? Any way to squeeze an extra buck I guess….

  2. Anon says:

    Shouldn’t there be some sort of working prototype when submitting for a patent? What stops me from submitting for a patent on cold fusion reactors or something?

    • Also Anon says:

      Depends on the country. However, in most countries you only need a concept in order to submit a patent request; you need only prove that you are working on producing a prototype. You could absolutely submit a patent request on cold fusion reactors, but you would be denied your patent. Your patent must be plausible within the realm of current physics/chemistry/mathematics/whatever. You will not be issued a patent on a cold fusion reactor unless you can show *how it is going to work*. Proving these things is a timely and costly endeavor, and that is why just getting a patent usually costs on the order of ~$20k (just for the patent lawyer).

      Patent law, in my opinion, has been implemented foolishly, and should be changed to detriment of large monopolizing companies, but that is a “should” topic, not an “is” topic.

  3. Soft-Rock Cocaine Enthusiast says:

    I don’t feel sorry for Nintendo. They are greedy bastards themselves.

    What goes around, comes around.

  4. passerby says:

    Is it just me, or is the patent is so vaguely described that it could be used to describe just about any light gun arcade game?

    • passerby says:

      btw, just in case any gyp staff read this, it would be nice to add comment editing to the new site if possible.

      • Kyle Johnson says:

        Probably not possible unless we start making people register with the site. We are traveling the opposite direction, as now you no longer need a name or email to post a comment.

      • Anon says:

        Comment editing?

        What? This isn’t Gather Your Communist Party. Stop trying to airbrush history, Stalin.

  5. CaptainKing says:

    EZ Money 101:
    1. File ludicrously broad and intentionally vague patent
    2. Sit on it until one infringer relies on it enough that they’ll settle for a huge amount outside of court
    3. File your claim
    4. No, I’m not turning this into a South Park joke
    5. Profit!

    • Spencer says:

      It’s a real thing that’s called patent trolling (yes, it’s a real term, look it up) and some companies rely on it as their primary business model to generate profit.

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