Court Rules Nintendo Must Pay Royalties on Every 3DS Sold

Published 1 year ago by

Nintendo Pay Royalty 3DS

It’s a good thing Nintendo was able to get the 3DS back on track and successful because they will soon have to pay royalties on every handheld sold. This according to a December 11th court ruling which found that Nintendo’s 3DS infringes on a patent held by Tomita Technologies International LTD.

Originally, Nintendo was going to have to pay a flat rate on every 3DS sold, but the judge ruled such a payout would result in an “unearned windfall” as 3DS manufacturing prices, and inevitably retail prices, declined. Instead, Nintendo will pay a percentage of the wholesale 3DS price for every handheld sold.

Tomita’s patent, for those that are curious, revolves around using two cameras to determine how far the user’s face is from the 3D screen. Basically, the patent gives devices that deliver glasses-less 3D a way to alter the effect’s intensity.

However, while the court did rule in favor of Tomita, there are some questions about whether or not the 3DS actually uses the company’s technology. As we understand it, the Nintendo renders 3D based on a fixed distance (about 12 inches) and the user must adjust their head accordingly to get the right effect.

Regardless, Nintendo lost their court battle and must pay royalties to Tomita for the lifetime of the 3DS. Although it’s not a flat rate, the royalty payout couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time, given the 3DS has only been on the market for about 3 years and will continue to sell, hopefully well. Not only that, the handheld has found a lot of success recently.

This past year, for example, the 3DS came into its own with titles like Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, Pokemon X and Y, and the stellar The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. That upward trend should only continue in 2014 as the handheld is poised to make a killing thanks to the release of Super Smash Bros.

Luckily, though, if the 3DS stays on track, the royalties will be a small price to pay for the inevitable success. And the debate over whether Nintendo did, in fact, infringe on Tomita’s patent will be a non-issue.

Are you surprised to learn Nintendo, according to the court, infringed on another company’s patent? Do you think this court ruling will impact the 3DS’ potential success?

Source: Law 360 (via NeoGAF)

TAGS: 3DS, Nintendo

  • Stephen

    Of course someone sued. Everyone wants a piece of other peoples success and they don’t wanna work for it.

    • Mark Hard

      Alright lets just discuss this concept out even further. Lets just say you have an idea. A brilliant idea and invention you have made. It was so great you even made a patent for it stating that ONLY you and your company themselves have the rights to use the technology/product by any means. Then suddenly one day you learn a bigger and what seems to be a more powerful company than yours has taken your idea, your own created concept without permission into a product of their own. A product that has gone into selling over thousands worldwide. That is the exact situation.

      I have seen a lot of people like you going “It’s just another lawsuit blah blah blah” or “oh so much sues going on these days” well welcome to the real world where it’s easy for people to take your ideas and concepts under your noses without you even looking the other way. It’s the competitive business world where everyone wants to be on the top but a few manage to cheat their way in order to get to the highest level. In this case a smaller company has won a battle against a major titan, Nintendo. Nintendo who wanted to get to the highest level. In this case Nintendo would now have to pay them ROYALITY fees for every 3DS sold.

      • jyaan

        This isn’t some amazing invention that was stolen. It’s something so elementary that anyone programming for a 3d camera system would have thought it up.

        The problem is that the patent office is giving out patents for basic things because they don’t understand technology in the slightest. It’s virtually impossible to create software without violating a patent of some sort, so you need to file and buy patents you think others will violate so you can counter-sue to defend yourself.

        There are companies dedicated to collecting patents and filing lawsuits — commonly known as patent trolls. They don’t create any products or anything. I’m not joking in the slightest — look it up. Something really needs to change!