Nintendo Again Sued Over Controllers
Nintendo has once again been hit with a controller-related patent infringement suit.
In a November 10 complaint, Motiva, described in a press statement as a "small Ohio technology company," claims the Nintendo Wii and its motion-sensing technology infringes on the U.S. patent (7,292,151) titled "Human Movement Measurement System."
Motiva’s attorney W. Mark Lanier said in a press statement, "Using someone else’s technology without permission is theft. Nintendo makes videogames where you get to play a thief, but that doesn’t give them the right to be one."
The U.S. Patent Office didn’t issue the patent until November 6, 2007, a year after the launch of the Wii. However, it was originally filed in July 2005.
In a 2006 BusinessWeek interview with Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, the designer said the Wii Remote’s "motion sensor, infrared pointer and the layout of buttons" were decided upon in "late 2004, early 2005," prior to the patent’s filing.
Actual development of GameCube’s console successor began years before that in 2001, according to Miyamoto.
The Motiva patent describes a system that measures the position of transponders for the purposes of "…testing and training… for the purpose of functional movement assessment for exercise and physical rehabilitation."
In the patent under the "application examples" section, "videogames" are mentioned, although in the context of physical rehabilitation instead of entertainment. However, such distinctions regarding how a patent is actually applied aren’t necessarily relevant in court.
Motiva is asking for a preliminary and permanent injunction against alleged infringements, damages and attorney fees.
The complaint adds, "Defendants’ acts of infringement have damaged Motiva in an amount to be proven at trial, but in no event less than a reasonable royalty."
In May, a federal jury decided Nintendo must pay $21 million to Anascape Ltd. for infringing on controller-related patents. Nintendo was denied an appeal.
August brought another controller suit against Nintendo, with Hillcrest Laboratories suing the game maker for allegedly infringing on motion control technology and graphical interface software.
For an interview with Motiva’s legal representation, click here.