No Rest For The Productive And Successful; Nintendo Sued Again Over The Wii Remote

from the another-patent-suit dept

Just how many patents can cover a single piece of technology? I think we are looking to break a record with the Wii Remote.

Today’s entry come to us via Gamasutra, which was alerted to the news that UltimatePointer is suing Nintendo and various retail outlets — including Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Gamestop and more — for violating their patent, number 7,746,321, for an “Easily Deployable Interactive Direct-Pointing System and Presentation Control System and Calibration Method Therefor” (what a mouthful). Much like ThinkOptic’s patents, this one was filed in the same year Nintendo revealed the Wii to the world. Not only that, it was filed the very same month. Not implying anything, just pointing out some facts.

According to the court filing (pdf and embedded below), which was done in East Texas, of course, Nintendo is guilty of manufacturing a technology that was designed and finalized prior to the filing of UltimatePointer’s patent. Which of course would mean that Nintendo and all those retailers are willfully infringing on this patent. So now, according to UltimatePointer, Nintendo owes them treble damages and licensing fees.

There is a major difference between this patent and the patents filed by ThinkOptic: the Wavit is actually available for purchase. UltimatePointer’s product, the Upoint, is still under “testing”, so many years later. Why bother building an actual product if you can just score a patent and sue those who really understand the technology? Once again, we are left to ponder the process that allows a company to be sued for independently developing similar technology to another prior to it being patented. This really does not breed confidence in the technology market.

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Companies: nintendo, ultimatepointer

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Comments on “No Rest For The Productive And Successful; Nintendo Sued Again Over The Wii Remote”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: retailers

I don’t understand how they can include retailers in an infringement suit. Retailers had nothing to do with the infringement, that would be solely down to the manufacturer of the supposedly infringed upon product. The retailers aren’t using the patent, aren’t making anything that would infringe on the patent…

I don’t get it, unless it’s a throw everything at the lawsuit wall and see what sticks kind of tactic.

Harrekki (profile) says:

well, that's what they get

for suing (and now winning against) people who make home brew software and devices.

I love how companies can tell me how i can use an item I bought from them out right. I’m not leasing it, but they can still tell me what to do with it. that’s bull shit. their right to tell me what can be done with MY hardware ended when I paid for it.

Nintendon’t is just feeling the Karma.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Considering that was not the point of my article, I did not see the need to evaluate the claim within the article.

My point is that Nintendo, once again, is being sued over a technology they independently developed prior to the filing of the patent, over which they are being sued.

On top of that, the company who is doing the suing has not product on the market. Add on to that, the market it is targeting is not even remotely the same as the Wii Remote.

The Upoint is being marketed for computerized presentations. The Wii Remote is being marketed as a controller for video games. There is no direct competition here.

If you want an analysis of the claim, sure by all means go for it. I won’t stop you.

Ninja (profile) says:

Much like ThinkOptic’s patents, this one was filed in the same year Nintendo revealed the Wii to the world. Not only that, it was filed the very same month. Not implying anything, just pointing out some facts.

It’s fairly obvious, no need to imply anything. But man, this part was priceless, made me laugh warmly 😉

If I may ask, is there any kind of patent lawsuit like that that actually scored a victory? I mean, isn’t it obvious that they are abusing the (broken) system?

Kurata says:

Related to Nintendo, Nintendo lost a case against a linker seller.

Nintendo argued that the linker cartridges for DS/DSi used ARM7 technologies of which Nintendo claimed to have the ownership of the patents, which it failed to prove by :

-failing to provide source doe
-failed to provide translated judgment from other european’s courts, which nintendo claimed they agreed that it was piracy to sell these cartridges
-failing to prove that a linker was only used for piracy, and piracy only.

In the end, Nintendo had to pay the seller 5000 euros.

An easier link to read for non-french speakers that wants to use google translation :

staff says:

another biased article

“Just how many patents can cover a single piece of technology?”

The truth is most every patent is rather narrow. Manufacturers only need to strip the covered feature from their product and they’re safe. If they cant strip it and have a viable product, it must have been very important. Chances are if a license is available they can get it for a reasonable price if they do so early on. The problem they run into is they try to sneak under the fence and in time they get caught. Honesty is the best policy.

Masnick and his monkeys have an unreported conflict of interest-

They sell blog filler and “insights” to major corporations including MS, HP, IBM etc. who just happen to be some of the world?s most frequent patent suit defendants. Obviously, he has failed to report his conflicts as any reputable reporter would. But then Masnick and his monkeys are not reporters. They are patent system saboteurs receiving funding from huge corporate infringers. They cannot be trusted and have no credibility. All they know about patents is they don?t have any.

aikiwolfie (profile) says:

Cases like this could be settled before they even get to court. The form (I’m assuming there is one. There’s always a form to fill in), could just have a question on it that says something like;

“Are you a non-practicing entity?


Was the competitions product released before your paten application was filed?

If the answer is “YES” to either question then please do not pass go and do not collect treble damages!”

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