As the old saying goes “When it rains, it pours” – and this year has been a torrential downpour for Nintendo. With lost profits from the 3DS and poor implementation of a second circle pad, the Big N just can’t catch a break.
The latest addition to Nintendo’s problems is a lawsuit claiming the Wii console is infringing on patents filed by ThinkOptical, makers of the Wavit Remote.
This lawsuit which was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Texas, claims that the whole Wii system infringes on at least three patents, the main one being Patent 7,796,116 “Electronic Equipment for Handheld Vision Based Absolute Pointing System.” ThinkOptical is looking for compensation for lost profits, attorney fees and royalties. This company just doesn’t have their sights set on Nintendo they also include retailers such as WalMart, Gamestop and Radio Shack and others in the suit.
There are definitely some interesting aspects to the case. ThinkOptical claims that Nintendo knew before launching the Wii console that the system infringed on their patents. ThinkOptical based this on Nintendo’s own rejected patent applications:
“The rejection of […] applications – assigned to Nintendo Co. Ltd. – based on the ’116 patent is proof that the Nintendo defendants knew or should have known of the objective risk that one or more of their products infringed at least one claim of at least the ’116 Patent.”
This fact, combined with the timeframe (the Wii launched over five years ago) makes you wonder why it took so long to file a lawsuit. Perhaps they were waiting to capitalize on the the success of the Wii? If this is the case then ThinkOptical has some poor timing, cause Nintendo is already hurting.
ThinkOptical is also looking down the road at the Wii U when it launches. No, they’re not waiting to play the latest version of Zelda, but claim that Nintendo’s upcoming console also infringes on some of their patents – technology that may not work and delay the Wii U launch. Talk about kicking them when they’re down.
As a Nintendo fan from way back, it’s hard to see the company in this situation. Though if it’s true that Nintendo knew they were stealing ideas from another company, then they have no one else to blame but themselves.
How do you feel about this lawsuit?
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