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Nintendo loses battle on controller patents against Philips in UK

updated 05:15 pm EDT, Sun June 22, 2014

Court rules Nintendo infringed on two of three patents in lawsuit from 2012

Nintendo lost its first court battle against Philips Electronics last week over its use of technology in Wii Remotes and associated consoles. The England and Wales High Court ruled that Nintendo infringed upon two of three patents from Phillips that are based on motion, pointing and gesture controlling. The third patent considered for a potential violation, which is for modeling a body in a virtual environment, was found to be invalid.

Philips began the lawsuit after it had failed to secure a settlement from Nintendo in 2011. The case was originally filed in 2012, with suits following the same year in Germany, France in 2013, and last month in the United States. A spokesperson for Philips said that the company "believe[s] Nintendo infringed the patents, and have tried to settle since 2011, but as that hasn't worked out we had to take this step. This case relates to other cases in the US, Germany and France. It might help in those cases, but that's not up to me but to the local authorities in those countries."

Both of the patents are related to a user interface which is based on a pointer device. The patents that Philips holds indicate that a computer system, that the company says extends to games, uses a handheld pointer that uses camera and a motion sensor. The same device is then used for motion or gesture controls to a beacon that analyzes the action.

Judge Colin Birss issued the ruling on the case, stating that the amended versions of the two patents were indeed infringed upon. While no award in terms of damages was rendered during the judgment, Birss would issue an order on them in July. There is also a small dispute that may come up over the damages based on a four-year gap of the original and amended patents.

Nintendo said in a statement it will be appealing the ruling, as it believes that the patents in question are invalid.

"Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others," said the company. "Nintendo is committed to ensuring that this judgment does not affect continued sales of its highly-acclaimed line of video game hardware, software and accessories, and will actively pursue all such legitimate steps as are necessary to avoid any interruptions to its business."

By Electronista Staff
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