Nintendo Loses Patent Suit In East Texas, Of Course

from the prior-art,-anyone? dept

The latest in a long line of patent lawsuits in every patent hoarders favorite district of East Texas involves the game controllers used by Nintendo. A company holds a patent on a 3D controller and sued Nintendo (and Microsoft) for supposedly violating the patent. Not surprisingly, the jury found in favor of the patent holder. Juries quite often side with the patent holder, no matter how questionable the patent may be. In this case, there would seem to be a ton of prior art raising validity questions. The patent itself was filed in November of 2000, at which point there were already numerous game controllers that seem to meet most of the criteria outlined in the claims. Whatever minor differences there may have been between what was on the market and what's in the claims should be seen as an obvious iteration of game controllers. As for Microsoft's involvement, it paid up to settle last month, once again showing how it's often cheaper to just pay up rather than to fight questionable patents. And, that, of course, is why we will keep seeing more and more questionable patents being filed. It's just so lucrative.
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Filed Under: east texas, game controller, patents, video games
Companies: nintendo


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  • identicon
    some old guy, 15 May 2008 @ 7:54pm

    talk about corruption

    Its sad to see so much corrution. That east district needs to be cleaned up. Tehy should NOT be destroying the countries ability to compete on the world wide market just so they can get another hotel built.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Steve, 15 May 2008 @ 7:58pm

    Sad Times

    At this rate we are going to see less innovation because of cases like this. I am said to see our judicial system and the people serving jury duty making such bad decisions.

    Very sad to read about this, but i am sure we will read more of this type of case in time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MLS, 15 May 2008 @ 8:40pm

    Is objectivity possible?

    Is there any situation where a patentee prevails and you would agree that a verdict of infringement is fair and just? Unless you have a subscription to PACER, there is simply no way that you can substantiate the many conclusions stated in the article.

    I know you are not a fan of patents, but at least try and reports facts sans rhetoric.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      some old guy, 15 May 2008 @ 8:51pm

      Re: Is objectivity possible?

      Sure you can. It only takes one look at WHERE the patent was filed to realize the entire proceedin is a sham. No additional objectivity is necessary.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        angry dude, 15 May 2008 @ 9:14pm

        Re: Re: Is objectivity possible?

        The patent application was filed in the USPTO

        The patent infringement lawsuit was filed in EDT because of a speedy court process there - the fact regularly used not just by patent-holding companies but by many large multinationals like Cisco

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          DanC, 15 May 2008 @ 9:32pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is objectivity possible?

          After reading the patent, I can't help but think that the filer must have been dissecting a Playstation Dual Shock controller (which came out in the US in 1998) when the claims were written.

          There's plenty of prior art for vibrating controllers, and it's a natural design progression to move from an external rumble pack like those for the old N64 controllers to an internal one.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            DCX2, 16 May 2008 @ 5:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Is objectivity possible?

            I read some of the claims and being an electrical engineer it's pretty easy to read without getting that glazed over eye in your look. I agree with you, that they're basically describing a Dual Shock controller.

            Does anyone have any idea what claims Nintendo allegedly violated? Certainly Immersion's patent would wipe out some of the claims regarding vibration (like claim 31, for example). I'm sure there are more errors.

            And another commentator pointed out a slight conflict of interest, regarding how the son is a lawyer in his father's court.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 15 May 2008 @ 9:12pm

      Re: Is objectivity possible?

      Is objectivity possible?

      From the guy who insisted that "patent deform" is a good name for the patent reform process?

      This blog is a place where we give our opinions and analysis. If you want objective reporting go somewhere else. We state upfront that this is about insight and analysis -- not reporting.

      And, yes, the patent cases we talk about here we will often point out the reasons why we think they were decided poorly. But we don't write about all patent cases. We write about the ones where we have something to say -- such as why we think it was a bad decision.

      If you think we're wrong, rather than just whining about us being wrong, why not explain *why* we're wrong. Do you honestly think that a game controller like the one described was so innovative that it needed patent protection in 2000? Please, do tell...

      You come here every day and complain that we don't cover the subject fairly -- yet you never point out what we get wrong.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        MLS, 15 May 2008 @ 9:45pm

        Re: Re: Is objectivity possible?

        "The latest in a long line of patent lawsuits in every patent hoarders favorite district of East Texas involves the game controllers used by Nintendo."

        Venue is defined by federal law, and a federal district in which a defendant has a regularly established place of business is one of several locales for venue. Let's not overlook the fact that many defendants successfully control venue in locations of their choice via a Declaratory Judgement Action.

        "A company holds a patent on a 3D controller and sued Nintendo (and Microsoft) for supposedly violating the patent. Not surprisingly, the jury found in favor of the patent holder. Juries quite often side with the patent holder, no matter how questionable the patent may be."

        This comment suggests almost a "wild west" dispensing of justice in a federal district court, with juries running amok and judges exercising little if any oversight. The same rules of Federal Civil Procedure and precedential case law are applied in that district as it is in every other district nationally. In point of fact, the primary attractiveness of this particular federal district court is that its judges are not reluctant to hear patent infringement cases, and manage those cases in a manner that forestalls the all to typical delaying actions sought by alleged infringers. This case was decided in just under two years, hardly something I would call rapid. However, it is certainly faster that many similar cases in other districts that drag on for years.

        "In this case, there would seem to be a ton of prior art raising validity questions."

        Yes, and that "ton of prior art" was cited to the USPTO during the 5 years it took from filing of the application to its grant. The patent examiner who handled consideration of the application is a Primary Examiner, and not one recently retained by the Patent Office. If you are referring to a "ton of prior art" that was not considered by the patent office, you must have an source within the court since only persons with a subscription to the Pacer System have access to all of the documents associated with this case.

        "The patent itself was filed in November of 2000, at which point there were already numerous game controllers that seem to meet most of the criteria outlined in the claims."

        "Seem to meet"? The tests are new, useful, and non-obvious, and not new, useful, non-obvious, and seems to meet..." You are engaging in speculation. Try analyzing the claim language in detail, and then point to prior art that teaches all of the limitations specified in each of the claims.

        "Whatever minor differences there may have been between what was on the market and what's in the claims should be seen as an obvious iteration of game controllers."

        "Obvious"? You are making broad, after the fact generalizations to express an opinion without any evidentiary foundation.

        Mike, I regret if you consider my comments as disruptive, but I am simply one who does not like to sit idly by while unsubstantiated information is promulgated as undeniable "fact". I know you take great pride in researching material associated with your articles. This article, however, is in my view one where research is lacking.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike (profile), 15 May 2008 @ 11:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is objectivity possible?

          Venue is defined by federal law, and a federal district in which a defendant has a regularly established place of business is one of several locales for venue. Let's not overlook the fact that many defendants successfully control venue in locations of their choice via a Declaratory Judgement Action.

          Are you seriously suggesting that venue shopping isn't a problem? There's almost no one who will take that argument seriously.

          As for the declaratory judgment, that assumes that the defendants have early warning that they're going to get sued. When you have the patent hoarders filing suit at 12:01am on the day they get the patent, that's kinda difficult, right?

          This comment suggests almost a "wild west" dispensing of justice in a federal district court, with juries running amok and judges exercising little if any oversight.

          Have you looked at the stats for jury trials on patent lawsuits in Marshall, Texas?

          From the NY Times on Marshall, Texas: "patent holders win 78 percent of the time, compared with an average of 59 percent nationwide."

          So I stand by my statement, which was correct.

          In point of fact, the primary attractiveness of this particular federal district court is that its judges are not reluctant to hear patent infringement cases, and manage those cases in a manner that forestalls the all to typical delaying actions sought by alleged infringers.

          That and the fact that it sides with patent holders a lot more often than other courts... I don't deny the speedy trial is part of the appeal of the rocket docket, but it doesn't make my statements false.

          Yes, and that "ton of prior art" was cited to the USPTO during the 5 years it took from filing of the application to its grant. The patent examiner who handled consideration of the application is a Primary Examiner, and not one recently retained by the Patent Office.

          Ah, yes, and the patent examiners never ever get it wrong... except for the fact that 3 out of 4 re-exams lead to changes in the claims. In other words, examiners *regularly* get it wrong.

          And I know you like to focus on the minutiae of how the patent system works when you try to complain about my positions, but the standard for both obviousness and prior art in the USPTO is severely lacking. The KSR case was a step in the right direction, but there's still a long way to go.

          "Seem to meet"? The tests are new, useful, and non-obvious, and not new, useful, non-obvious, and seems to meet..." You are engaging in speculation. Try analyzing the claim language in detail, and then point to prior art that teaches all of the limitations specified in each of the claims.

          This was a blog post, not a legal brief. I'm sorry, but I don't recall when you were given oversight into whether I could express my opinion on the quality of a patent, and demanding that it meet the same (bogus) requirements the USPTO uses. Yes, it's speculation. Did anyone think it wasn't? But it's pretty well informed speculation. Anyone can read through the patent (I provided the link). Can you point to any claim there that wasn't either already there or a next obvious step from what was out?

          "Obvious"? You are making broad, after the fact generalizations to express an opinion without any evidentiary foundation.

          Again, this is a blog post, not a legal filing. But, I'll note again that you're focusing on the minutiae rather than anything substantive. Funny how that's always the case.

          Mike, I regret if you consider my comments as disruptive, but I am simply one who does not like to sit idly by while unsubstantiated information is promulgated as undeniable "fact". I know you take great pride in researching material associated with your articles. This article, however, is in my view one where research is lacking.

          I don't find your comments disruptive. I find them weak. You tend to accuse us of all sorts of things, without backing any of it up. You focus on the minutiae rather than the bigger point. I understand you're a lawyer, so that's what you do.

          And no, I don't present my opinions as fact. They are my opinions -- and I back them up as best I can by the facts, and I link to sources to help back it up. And I leave the comments open for folks like you to point out where I was wrong. That's part of the point of having comments.

          But don't claim I was wrong if you can't back it up.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          chiropetra, 15 May 2008 @ 11:32pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is objectivity possible?

          Well MLS that's a beautiful theory. Unfortunately it gets mugged by a gang of ugly facts.

          In theory the rules are uniform in all federal courts. In fact there are substantial differences in how those rules are interpreted and enforced. With national corporations that means venue shopping is an old, well-established practice -- and not just in patent cases, please note.

          That's no more a secret that the East Texas district's attitude toward patents. If you were really interested in the facts you could see that with quick Google search.

          Why does this patent "apparently" ignore prior art? Because that's a legal decision and we're not the court. It's an attempt to stay honest.

          Although frankly I think the effort is wasted in some of the trolls we find here.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          chad, 16 May 2008 @ 7:58am

          Re: Re: Re: Is objectivity possible?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2008 @ 1:07am

      Re: Is objectivity possible?

      Well... Let me put it this way. THE FUCKING NINTENDO POWER GLOVE IS PRIOR ART.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Tack Furlo, 18 May 2008 @ 10:27pm

      Re: Is objectivity possible?

      I'd just like to mention that in fact I am a paralegal and in fact I do have a subscription to PACER so the next time a lawsuit is filed in federal court in Alabama I will be certain to keep everyone informed of the actual documents.

      That said, this would most likely be a USPTO court and therefore not part of the PACER system. PACER covers Federal Court and Bankruptcy cases, that's it. Not Social Security, not DMV cases, not IRS cases, and also not Patent or Trademark issues. It also costs 8 cents per page (and with 70 page RIAA briefs in other cases, that gets expensive quick) and the only way to get a free copy is to be a party to the case. Lastly, you must have a separate PACER login and account for each district of Federal Court - all 500+ of them. You can only get a login if you are a member of the bar association in the state in question and only if you have a valid law license. Due to this, someone like me A) must have an actual attorney make the account and B) must be in the state in question, which I am not.

      Next time, instead of just repeating an acronym that some friend of a friend of a friend's lawyer mentioned to them, learn what PACER is before posting about it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        MLS, 19 May 2008 @ 6:09am

        Re: Re: Is objectivity possible?

        Merely FYI, this is a District Court decision, and the website for the court only shows some of the older filings, with the newer ones being noted as available through PACER.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Griper, 15 May 2008 @ 9:04pm

    What kind of instruction are the juries given? If there appears to be a trend then something must be up in Texas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Little Punk, 15 May 2008 @ 9:35pm

    Make My Day

    This here is an East Texas lawsuit,
    the most profitable district to file in.
    It will blow your bank account clean off the records.
    So, ya gotta ask yer self, did he file five lawsuits or was it six ?
    In all the excitement I kinda lost count.
    Well, do ya feel lucky - Punk ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Clueby4, 15 May 2008 @ 10:00pm

    Is MLS a patent troll?

    What frelling planet do you live on MLS. The patent system is broken, to even suggest that it is not only demonstrates the undeniable fact that you are either benefiting from the current toxic environment or you're a parrot.

    East Texas venue is a well known corrupt judicial environment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2008 @ 10:20pm

    Has MLS ever met a patent that MLS didn't like ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Patrick B, 15 May 2008 @ 10:57pm

    It gets worse

    Something definatly needs to be done about this district. Judge Ward has a son who is a patent lawyer who's law firm specializes in filing cases in the court of his father. if you go to this web page, http://www.jwfirm.com/practice_areas/index.html , it states all that. It seems pretty crooked that the Judges son specializes in representing cases in his own court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Steve, 16 May 2008 @ 5:41am

    MLS makes a funny

    MLS,

    You act as if the judical system can never make a mistake. i would like to point out to you "Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1856." I already know you are going to try to point out the time that this took place, but i want you to understand that the judical system is not perfect and can make mistakes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2008 @ 6:14am

      Re: MLS makes a funny

      The judicial system wasn't perfect and could make mistakes, but that's been cleaned up in the intervening 152 years. Really. It's a well-oiled machine now, utterly incapable of error.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DCX2, 16 May 2008 @ 7:35am

    Details

    I found the story over on slashdot and browsed through the comments until I found actual information (for a change).

    It appears that claims 1 and 2 are central here. Specifically, analog buttons with a click (claim 1), and using the analog value to control imagery (claim 2). I think the claims specify that the click should occur when the user has fully depressed the button (i.e. to indicate "all the way on"). This is why only the Classic Controller, GameCube, and WaveBird controllers violate the patent, while the Wiimote and the Nunchuk don't.

    I don't see how that could reasonably stand up under scrutiny. To me, as an electrical engineer, the patent claims read like someone describing how to design a common video game controller. Even the concept of an analog input clicking when you reach the end of its range is quite common, as can be seen on any stereo's volume knob for the past few decades. Using analog values to control imagery was also quite common back in 2000.

    And if the patent is a minor detail over when the click occurs (max analog value or min analog value), might I add that a volume knob is formally known as an attenuator and the click occurs during maximum attenuation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    angry guy, 16 May 2008 @ 8:13am

    Some real facts on the Nintendo Suit

    Apparently the main patent at issue in that case was U.S. Patent No. 6,906,700. Yes, it was filed in November 2000, but it is a "continuation" of an application filed in 1996, so you would need pre-1996 prior art to invalidate it. (It also claims priority to earlier patent applications going back to 1992 as "continuations-in-part," but it is unclear whether the patent is entitled to claim those dates.)

    Here is claim 1:

    1. A 3-D graphics controller used with a television based game, comprising:

    a game, said game at least in part controlled by circuitry, said circuitry located on at least one sheet, said at least one sheet comprising:

    a circuit board sheet connected to a flexible membrane sheet;

    a first element structured to activate four unidirectional sensors, said four unidirectional sensors at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said four unidirectional sensors useful to control said game;

    a second element with structure to activate a first two rotary potentiometers, said first two rotary potentiometers at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said first two rotary potentiometers useful to control said game;

    a third element with structure to activate a second two rotary potentiometers, said second two rotary potentiometers at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said second two rotary potentiometers useful to control said game;

    an independent first button structured to activate a first button sensor, said first button depressible by a single finger of a user, said first button sensor at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said first button sensor creates simple switched On/Off data useful to control said game;

    an independent pivotal second button structured to activate a second button sensor, said second button pivots upon depression by a single finger of the user, said second button sensor at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said second button sensor capable of outputing a proportional signal useful to control said game;

    an independent pivotal third button structured to activate a third button sensor, said third button pivotal upon depression by a single finger of the user, said third button sensor at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said third button sensor capable of outputing a proportional signal useful to control said game;

    active tactile feedback vibration detectable by the user of said game.

    -------

    A pretty narrow claim, in truth. I would not be surprised to learn that no single prior art controller actually did all of what's specified in the claims, but all of the individual elements were certainly in the prior art. Not many prior art controllers had more than one rotary joystick, for example, but it seems that the combination of elements recited would be fairly obvious. What surprises even more is that the jury awarded $21 million for the alleged infringement. That seems quite excessive given the limited utility of the invention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      MLS, 16 May 2008 @ 9:18am

      Re: Some real facts on the Nintendo Suit

      Yes, it is a pretty narrow claim, though a far cry from Claim 1 is Sakraida. I think that claim set a record for narrowness, with possibly the only element missing being the color of paint on the walls of a dairy barn. Apparently Ag Pro was not particularly innovative in that one would have to have been almost brain dead to infringe that claim in the first place.

      Like you I would be surprised if a single reference was a "killer" under 102. Of course, 103 may be a different story. The problem here, though, is that other than the patent document itself, no file history is presented to see what arguments were propounded by the applicant and the patent examiner during prosecution. The five year pendency, coupled with a Primary Examiner handling the case, suggests that arguments pro and con were very extensive. Certainly this was not an application that proceeded down an "assembly line" and was granted in a casual manner.

      Similar to my 103 observations, it appears that unless one has a PACER subscription (which I do not), depositions, trial transcripts, evidence presented, etc. are unavailable.

      Maybe the patent should have been rejected under 103. Then again, maybe is should not. Honestly, I do not know the answer because important information is not available. The only thing I do know is that the case was argued before a jury and that the jury apparently found on the basis of the evidence provided at trial that the plaintiff presented the more compelling case. As for the damages award, once more how it was arrived at is anybody's guess at this point in time, though, obviously, expert testimony was likely presented on this issue. Likewise I have no information if the award included any enhancement of damages or any award of attorney fees. All I know is what has been reported in the news...$21M.

      In view of the above the most I can honestly say at this point in time is that the plaintiff prevailed and was awarded $21M. Anything beyond that I consider to be merely speculation, and it is this speculation that seems to underlie the contents of the article and the comments to the article using it as yet another example of why the system is broken. To me speculation is a slender reed upon which to rely when forming opinions. I prefer to rely upon known facts in specific cases before taking a pro/con position.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      DCX2, 16 May 2008 @ 9:24am

      Re: Some real facts on the Nintendo Suit

      a first element structured to activate four unidirectional sensors, said four unidirectional sensors at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said four unidirectional sensors useful to control said game;

      A directional pad or joystick. Has existed since the original Atari joysticks in the 80s.

      a second element with structure to activate a first two rotary potentiometers, said first two rotary potentiometers at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said first two rotary potentiometers useful to control said game;

      An analog stick. Again, an Atari controller in the 80s was the first to use potentiometers as analog inputs.

      a third element with structure to activate a second two rotary potentiometers, said second two rotary potentiometers at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said second two rotary potentiometers useful to control said game;

      A second analog stick. I suppose you could argue that this is innovative, except that there was a dual-analog-stick (SCPH-1110) controller announced by Sony in 1995. And, well, adding a second of something isn't terribly non-obvious.

      an independent first button structured to activate a first button sensor, said first button depressible by a single finger of a user, said first button sensor at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said first button sensor creates simple switched On/Off data useful to control said game;

      A digital button. Again, see the Atari controllers of the 80s.

      an independent pivotal second button structured to activate a second button sensor, said second button pivots upon depression by a single finger of the user, said second button sensor at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said second button sensor capable of outputing a proportional signal useful to control said game;

      An analog button. I'm not sure when analog buttons began to be used in the gaming industry. I doubt it would be hard to find evidence of analog buttons in other industries. This leaves two questions: is it novel or non-obvious to patent an analog button from a separate industry, or is it novel or non-obvious to take the idea of analog inputs from the analog stick and patent it with regard to buttons.

      an independent pivotal third button structured to activate a third button sensor, said third button pivotal upon depression by a single finger of the user, said third button sensor at least in part connected to said at least one sheet, said third button sensor capable of outputing a proportional signal useful to control said game;

      Repeating themselves over a third button.

      Actually, many of the claims are highly repetitious. And the bit about clicking isn't in the claims, but farther down, in the section about the best modes for carrying out the invention. I'm not sure claim 1 was central to the lawsuit...I really wish there were more details.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        MLS, 16 May 2008 @ 10:12am

        Re: Re: Some real facts on the Nintendo Suit

        While there are a few more "pieces" recited in the claim, your methodology for analyzing the broadest claim in the patent is refreshing to note given the large number or persons who merely proclaim "It is obvious". On aspect of your analytical method that is particularly refreshing is your noting that there are some questions that would need to be answered before concluding that one element of the claim is actually covered by relevant prior art. Maybe there is. Maybe there isn't. At least you note the need to take a look.

        By the way, claims do tend to look repetitious. It is the nature of how claims are drafted. I am sure you will note, however, if any two claims are placed side by side for comparison, you will find some differences between the two.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        DanC, 16 May 2008 @ 10:46am

        Re: Re: Some real facts on the Nintendo Suit

        It should also be noted that the previous patent that angry dude mentioned, #6,222,525 only mentions the tactile feedback response one receives from pushing in a button (the patent particularly mentions spring-based tactile response).

        It makes no mention of any vibration mechanism for feedback whatsoever. The vibration feedback claim was not added until the continuation patent was filed in 2000, well after controllers with vibrational feedback were on the market. After looking over the original patent, I don't see where the original patent supports the continuation claims.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          MLS, 16 May 2008 @ 12:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: Some real facts on the Nintendo Suit

          If you are ultimately talking about the patent linked in the article, it is a continuation of two predecessor CIPs. Likely the new matter was added during one of the CIPs.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2008 @ 5:46pm

        Re: Re: Some real facts on the Nintendo Suit

        An analog button. I'm not sure when analog buttons began to be used in the gaming industry....

        Street Fighter 1 the arcade game originally had pressure sensitive buttons - the harder you hit, the harder the attack. But they quickly changed it to the now familiar 6 button configuration.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Talking Head, 16 May 2008 @ 8:26am

    Meanwhile back at the ranch

    US trade deficit soars as foreign companies kick ass while their competitors argue about who owes whom for what.

    Film at eleven.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Joe Smith, 16 May 2008 @ 8:47am

      Re: Meanwhile back at the ranch

      "This case was decided in just under two years, hardly something I would call rapid."

      Two years is about the absolute minimum to bring a case with any degree of complexity to trial and still give both sides a fair chance.

      The problem with rocket dockets is that they favor the plaintiff who can take months or years to organize his case in advance and then choose when to start the clock running on the Defendant who has to play catchup under tight time constraints.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2008 @ 8:53am

    Interesting article about Judge Ward, of East Texas, speaking of the interest in IP law. For those interested.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/DN-marshall_26bus.ART0.State. Edition1.3eb99e4.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Little Punk, 16 May 2008 @ 10:37am

    This is all I needed to see.
    - A continuation patent -
    End of story

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DCX2, 16 May 2008 @ 12:10pm

    More info

    This article on Joystiq lists all of the relevant patents which were used to sue Nintendo.

    A fellow on slashdot suggested that the real issue is the patent 6,344,791. Specifically, pressure-sensitive analog buttons which click when fully pressed. This is why only certain controllers violate the patent, but not others.

    Apparently, the patent covers a device with three features. A) More than 2 states (=analog), B) momentary switch, and C) tactile feedback at one extreme.

    AB would be a generic analog stick (it would be momentary because it returns to center when released).

    AC would be a generic volume knob.

    BC would be a generic mouse or keyboard button.

    The USPTO apparently feels that adding C to AB, B to AC, or A to BC constitutes a novel, non-obvious invention which no one has the incentive to create without a patent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2008 @ 1:22pm

    Reading this silliness is entertaining ....

    Does the patent stipulate what color the button is or its diameter and thickness ? Can it be made out of plastic ?

    What is the depth the button is depressed before it clicks ?
    Sounds more like a patent on a button rather than a video game controller.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    stv, 21 May 2008 @ 4:27am

    After years of study and deliberation by our courts including testimony of expert witnesses a guilty verdict was given. Ever consider that’s because they WERE guilty?? That’s our legal system. If you don’t like it consider moving to another country. May I suggest China. They promote theft there. You’ll fit right in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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