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April 14, 2010

Nintendo Wins Round Against Anascape

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Score one for Nintendo: The video game giant won a ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit against Anascape.

As Reuters (News - Alert) reports, Nintendo won a patent appeal on Tuesday in a fight with Anascape over technology used in video game controllers.

Industry observer Kris Graft reportedthat the Court of Appeals overturned a 2008 ruling by a Texas district court “that required Nintendo to pay Texas-based Anascape $21 million for allegedly infringing on video game controller patents.”

Nintendo said that the Court of Appeals found that none of Nintendo’s video game controllers infringe on Anascape's patent 6,906,700, "3D Controller With Vibration," Graft reported:

“Anascape filed a suit in 2006 against Nintendo and Microsoft (News - Alert) over alleged infringement of 12 game hardware and controller-related patents.”

The appeals court’s ruling “reversed a decision by a Texas district court,” Reuters says, adding that “the Texas court earlier ruled that Nintendo had infringed on an Anascape patent, was required to stop using the technology and was required to pay damages.”

Reuters notes that the game controllers in question were used in some of Nintendo's popular Wii, WaveBird and GameCube controllers.

But as industry observer Richard Mitchell writes, “There's a reasonable chance that you don't remember Anascape. Perhaps you remember the company that took Microsoft and Nintendo to court over its video game controller patents a few years back -- ring a bell?”

In 2008, “the jury determined that the Wii Remote and Nunchuk did not infringe," said Nintendo of America general counsel Rick Flamm. As Graft says, however, that jury “found that the Wii's classic controller, the GameCube controller and wireless GameCube WaveBird did infringe on the patent,” leading to the original ruling.

"Today the Federal Circuit’s ruling confirmed that none of Nintendo’s controllers infringe," Flamm added. "We appreciate that our position has been vindicated."


David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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