Game developer Hillcrest Labs sues Nintendo in Wii patent suit

Maryland-based start-up game developer Hillcrest Laboratories filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) against Kyoto-based game maker, Nintendo, for patent violations. Hillcrest claims that Nintendo has infringed on its patented motion-sensing technologies.

The filing asks the FTC to bar imports of Wii consoles into the US. The company also filed a civil claim against Nintendo making similar charges, but also seeking financial damages. Nintendo officials had no comment about the allegations, only to say they had not yet received the court documents.

Hillcrest claims that Nintendo infringed on four patents. Hillcrest claims that its patented technologies form the basis of key features in the Nintendo Wii console, including its 3D pointing device and a display interface system for organising graphical content on a TV.

Court documents state that “Hillcrest believes that Nintendo is in clear violation of its patents and has taken action to protect its intellectual property rights”.

CNET reports that in July, a federal court in Texas found that three Nintendo controllers (not for the Wii) were in violation of patents held by Texas developer, Anascape. Nintendo has appealed that decision.

Nintendo has said that it plans to sell 25m Wii consoles worldwide for its fiscal year running from March 2008 to March 2009. The Wii console has sold 29.6m units since it was released in 2006, according to the company.

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Published by Reinout te Brake

Reinout is a games investor and strategic business consultant specializing in the games industry. Reinout established his credentials through his own successful investments, start-ups, consulting and (advisory) board positions that led through time to strong bonds with key stakeholders in this fast paced industry. He is known for his outstanding results in the gaming industry. He has worked with many game studios around the globe and is therefore well known in the international gaming industry. Check out his games podcast; https://www.game-consultant.com

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