[Wii] Nintendo Sued for Patent Infringement

Discussion in 'Games' started by Haoshiro, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. Haoshiro macrumors 68000

    Haoshiro

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    #1
    Well at least Nintendo is making a profit on the hardware... should help them if they have to pay out a lot of money over this.
     
  2. Malus macrumors 6502

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    #2
    They aren't going to win....they want nintendo to take the wii off the shelf??? hahaha what a joke.
     
  3. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #3
    There are Wiis on shelves? :p

    This kind of lawsuit is no joke, just ask Apple and Creative.

    B
     
  4. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816

    Gizmotoy

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    #4
    Patents are extremely touchy. They are granted for exactly what is listed in the application, and cannot be interpreted beyond the bounds of what's discussed in the patent. As that's the case, they'll never succeed. If you read the patent, Interlink's device has a trigger that operates an IR LED. Nintendo's Wiimote has no IR LEDs, and the trigger has no effect on the IR camera used (buttons are bluetooth). I've actually used the device in question. The round button on top acts like the mouse, its movements encoded into binary, and transmitted through the IR LED to the computer. There is no "pointing at the TV" functionality, it's all button presses.

    If you've read how the Wiimote works, you know it works nothing like that. They're requesting a jury trial because they're confident they can obscure the actual workings of the devices from the average person.
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #5
    Which patent are you reading? None of the independent claims mention an IR LED only an "output signal emitter" the language used is chosen to allow for different implementations by those of ordinary skill in the art.

    I haven't examined the claims in detail, and don't have a Wiimote to compare them to, but the IR limitation is not one that Nintendo would be able to use.

    B
     
  6. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    #6
    That looks like it in itself is an infringement on the phaser from Star Trek!!
     
  7. sikkinixx macrumors 68020

    sikkinixx

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    #7
    I hope Nintendo doesn't ask Sony for advice on how they dealt with their Immersion patent issue :rolleyes:
     
  8. pgc6000 macrumors 6502a

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  9. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816

    Gizmotoy

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    #9
    Actually, they specifically claim it is an IR LED. "There is an LED device (26) for emitting infra-red output signal to the receiver for operating the computer." It is clearly visible in many of the drawings. The point is that Nintendo's Wii remote does not have an LED emitter. It has an infrared camera that picks up IR signal emitted from the sensor bar. You can point it at a pair of light bulbs and it'll work just fine. The only output of the Wii remote is Bluetooth. You do not control the pointer on the screen using the pressure sensitive button system they describe.

    These devices are only as similar as their ultimate goal (pointing). The actual implementations are completely different.
     
  10. neonblue2 macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    And the Wiimote isn't trigger operated, it's battery operated :cool:
     
  11. Malus macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Haha, actually, the wiimote acts as a pointer and trigger, but its main function is motion sensors, not point and click though it is one feature....this lawsuit will not win.
     
  12. JackAxe macrumors 68000

    JackAxe

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    #12
    Isn't that a patent for a toy phaser. :eek:

    That thing is just a remote with a trigger, I hope they end up sucking on their own poo. :rolleyes:

    <]=)
     
  13. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

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    #13
    LOL!
     
  14. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    #14
    Oh my God, Interlink ripped off whoever invented the IR TV remote :eek: . Seriously, this is more like a TV remote (transmitting IR rather than receiving IR and transmitting bluetooth). I'm so happy to live in the US where everyone sues everyone else for similar (but not exact) ideas.
     
  15. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #15
    That is in the description for the illustration, the actual claims aren't so specific.
     
  16. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816

    Gizmotoy

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    #16
    Ah, I missed that. Even barring that, they're still completely dissimilar. Interlink uses a button to move a pointer in 2 dimensions, and then transmits the results of the button press over it's "output emitter". The Wii remote uses a sensor and a pair of external emitters to determine where the remote is in 3D space. The pointer is controlled by its complete position in three-space, not by a button. It even knows how far you are from the emitter.

    I could see them perhaps going after wireless controllers that use a typical analog thumbpad, like those on pretty much every other console and the Wii's own nunchuck, if it is used as a pointer. If I was Interlink, I would have started there. Of course, Sony and Microsoft have deeper pockets. Not the best target for a suit of questionable merit.
     
  17. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #17
    And the claims are the only thing that counts in the patent. The specification is only there to help clarify what the claims mean, along with the understanding of "those of ordinary skill in the art". The invention need not include all of the elements in any of the figures, but can be of a specific subset of features as the claims here seem to be.

    From my cursory glance, the trigger is the key element of the patent and perhaps the pointing capabilities. This is what differentiates from a typical IR remote. Does the Wiimote or Nunchuck have a similar trigger?

    B
     
  18. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816

    Gizmotoy

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    #18
    The Wiimote has a single trigger, the Nunchuck has two. Also, the use of the trigger doesn't seem to be defined. However, the second "control element" from Interlink's patent is completely absent from Nintendo's implementation.

    Hundreds of infrared devices have triggers, and some even are used for pointing. Anyone can stick an index-finger trigger on a pointing device. Game consoles two generations back have had that capability. The more unique part of the patent involves how they came up with pointing button and its pressure sensitivity. I didn't study patent law, but I am an electrical engineer and if there's any unique idea in this patent it's that button.
     
  19. kakkoiimac macrumors regular

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    #19
    ok...Im a total layman at things like this...so what are the options of the end result? Im guessing either nintendo pays a bunch of money to this dishonest, trying-to-get-something-for-nothing company, or they win and dont worry about it.

    we shouldnt be worried about a change in remotes or anything like that should we?
     
  20. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #20
    Claim 10 might actually be the one they are looking at. Assuming the Wiimote has an index finger trigger underneath and thumb operated buttons on the top. This claim is really quite general, while claim 1 is actually a bit more restrictive.

    FWIW, while I have not studied patent law either I have plenty of direct experience with patents (I am an inventor on 7 US patents with a few more applications in the queue). I've also been involved first hand in patent litigation. It's not pretty, fun or cheap.

    The application, while only issued in 2005 goes back to 1995 a time when some of this would not have been quite as obvious.

    It is far more likely that Nintendo will offer the company a license fee before this ever goes to trial. Either a lump sum (like Apple just did to Creative) or a fee per Wii. Winning through trial will cost Nintendo somewhere around $10M and they are not guaranteed to win. Can they license the patent for less? It's quite doubtful that Nintendo will opt to go for a new controller since the Wiimote is a key selling point for the Wii.

    Again note that the patent application goes back 10 years. Why are you assuming the company is being dishonest?

    B
     
  21. kakkoiimac macrumors regular

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    #21
    like i said i am a layman to the whole patent thing...but it just seems like nintendo comes up with a good idea that (at least at first) alot of people are really excited about...so this company that has a completely different product and market gets this scent of money and does anything to get some some...but that is just me. I'm all for protect your rights and all...this just seems like...wrong.

    but like i said, im not in business and maybe just dont understand...i just hope ninty just keeps puting out with all the sweet games.
     
  22. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816

    Gizmotoy

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    #22
    That could be. As patents usually are, it's pretty vague and does appear to cover the physical aspects. Although I still wonder what differentiates the Wii's controllers from those for the other systems in Interlink's mind. They can be used as pointers, have triggers, and thumb-operated buttons. I guess it's probably the visual similarity.

    Are claims enforced as a whole, or individually? 10 does appear to cover it since it doesn't specify anything but a device with a circuit and two buttons, one thumb-operated. It says it's used for pointing, but doesn't specify how in any way. It only does so in later claims. They basically patent a trackball in Claim 10.
     
  23. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #23
    Only if the trackball had a trigger button on the surface opposite the trackball. (i.e. underneath) :p

    Since the original patent was applied for relatively long ago, it is probably pretty safe to assume that at least some of the apparently similar devices on the market (like the remotes used with many InFocus projectors) are actually licensed from or made by the company in question.

    They have an issued patent and thus the claims are assumed to be valid...

    Remember what a patent is all about. It grants the inventors a temporary monopoly on an idea, device or process, During this time (~20 years) only that company can sell make or use the invention in the US, or they can grant a license to someone else.

    B
     
  24. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #24
    While I haven't read the comments in this thread, I doubt this is going to be of any affect. Seriously, look at the complaint. They are claiming that Nintendo is violating their patent for a "pointing device". They use completely different technologies and the Wiimote was already in development when they filed the patent so Nintendo didn't copy them...

    The company is just making big threats in hope that Nintendo will offer them a big fat settlement.
     
  25. 840quadra Moderator

    840quadra

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    #25
    I too have used that remote.

    It came with a projector we use at work, and is used to control a computer attached to said projector.

    It does not even resemble the use of the Wii remote, in feel, looks, or use!

    [​IMG]
     

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