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TM Nintendo Wii and US

Written by Tim Mount on 23 September 2008

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In a recently filed lawsuit in the US, Nintendo has been accused of violating US patents with its Wii console. The International Trade Commission (ITC) has been alerted to the complaint, from Hillcrest Laboratories. This method of appealing to the trade body is seen as quicker than waiting for a court case to reach conclusion and is commonplace action by a US company who alleges a foreign company has violated rights. It involves an initial recommendation by one of five administrative law judges on whether there has been a violation of a certain section of the Trade Act, followed by a final decision.

The ITC has agreed to look into Hillcrest’s allegations but Nintendo has vowed to “vigorously defend” its position, claiming to respect other patents and denying any infringement. Hillcrest has a patent for a handheld motion detecting technology. Nintendo has had huge success with the Wii since launch in 2006. If infringement is found it could in theory lead to a cease and desist order on Nintendo US over the controllers or the Wii itself. Hillcrest said other electronics companies have licensed its patents.

According to Hillcrest’s website the system (named Freespace)

"…senses motion in three dimensions and precisely translates human motions into onscreen cursor movement.

When embedded in a handheld input device, Freespace allows consumers to simply point and click to navigate content and application choices on televisions, set–top boxes, PCs, and a range of other digital media devices. Freespace can also be adapted for use in game controllers."

Sounds familiar, but which came first? One to watch…

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