10.1 million reasons for Nintendo to avoid patent infringement litigation
The Nintendo Switch was a runaway success of 2017 tech. Demand outweighed supply. But while customers were busy queuing up to buy the latest gaming console, IP lawyers were busy queuing up to sue them.
A patent litigation line up
In August 2017, a US company, Gamevice, filed a patent infringement petition against Nintendo. The basis of the claim alleged that Nintendo copied Gamevice’s ‘Wikipad’ product design (US9126119 - Combination computing device and game controller with flexible bridge section) for the Nintendo Switch. Gamevice wanted to stop the sale of the Switch and were also requesting compensation for the infringement.
Spot the difference—Gamevice Wikipad (source: US9126119)
Spot the difference—Nintendo Switch (source: EP3269434A1)
Gamevice voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit in October—hinting at either a change of heart from Gamevice, or possibly an out of court settlement—meaning it’s unlikely we’ll see any further action.
In 2013, iLife Technologies sued Nintendo—alleging that tech inside the Wii controller infringed upon their accelerometer patent (US6307481 - Systems for evaluating movement of a body and methods of operating the same). The patent was included in iLife’s fall detection device—known as the Healthsensor 100. In August 2017, a jury found in favour of the plaintiff and $10.1 million was awarded to iLife. Nintendo challenged the ruling however the Texas Federal Court of Justice upheld the verdict in late December 2017.
Nintendo's litigation history (source: PatSnap platform)
These aren’t the only litigation battles that Nintendo has faced. According to PatSnap’s litigation history statistics, since Nintendo introduced the revolutionary Wii in late 2006, 77 patent infringement lawsuits have been filed. Nintendo has only managed to win 8 of those cases and 8 are still ongoing.
Nintendo litigation cases (source: PatSnap platform)
So, if you fancy getting involved, Nintendo has commenced recruitment—to stop an endless stream of patent disputes and protect its own intellectual property rights. There is currently a corporate counsel opportunity in Washington, USA "to support Nintendo’s intellectual property protection and enforcement efforts".
With 2,808 active or pending patents—with an estimated average value of $275,000 each—held by Nintendo globally, I can imagine you’ll be kept busy.
Nintendo's patent portfolio (source: PatSnap platform)