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Philips alleges Nintendo patent infringement

Philips alleges Nintendo patent infringement

Thu 15 May 2014 7:41am GMT / 3:41am EDT / 12:41am PDT
HardwarePublishingDevelopment

Files suit in the US, demands Wii consoles and peripherals be removed from sale

The electronics manufacturer Philips has filed a patent suit against NIntendo over its Wii consoles and peripheral controllers.

According to a document filed in the United States District Court of Delaware, Philips has two patents relating to "interactive virtual modelling" and "human computer interaction" that have been infringed by Nintendo's console products ever since the launch of the Wii.

The first patent - referred to as "patent 379" - was issued to Philips in September 2001. It relates to a "Virtual Body Controlling Device," and Philips chas claimed that it informed Nintendo of its existence in a letter sent in November, 2011. The full patent can be found here.

The second patent - referred to as "patent 231" - is more ambiguous, as it was only filed by Philips in September 2013, well after the Wii had fallen from public favour and comfortably after the launch of the Wii U. It relates to a, "User Interface System Based on Pointing Device," and it can be found here.

Philips' claims seem to relate principally to the Wii Remote Controller, and specifically Wii MotionPlus. However, the suit argues that these devices are so essential to the experience offered by the consoles that they should not be considered as separate.

The devices named in the suit are as follows: "Wii console, Wii Remote Plus Controller, Wii Remote Controller, Wii Nunchuk Controller, Wii MotionPlus, Wii Balance Board, Wii U console, Wii U GamePad, and Wii Mini console."

Phillips is seeking damages, and has asked the court to halt sales of all the named devices in the United States. We have approached Nintendo for comment.

13 Comments

Our CMS doesn't like the link to the first patent. For reference, here it is: file:///home/chronos/user/Downloads/US6285379.pdf

Posted:3 months ago

#1

Christian Keichel
Journalist

640 876 1.4
The second patent - referred to as "patent 231" - is more ambiguous, as it was only filed by Philips in September 2013, well after the Wii had fallen from public favour and comfortably after the launch of the Wii U. It relates to a, "User Interface System Based on Pointing Device," and it can be found here.
From the linked patent:
The user interaction system comprises a portable pointing device (101) connected to a camera (102) and sending pictures to a digital signal processor (120), capable of recognizing an object (130) and a command given by the user (100) by moving the pointing device (101) in a specific way, and controlling an electrical apparatus (110) on the basis of this recognition.
What has this to do with the way the Wii or the Wii U controller works? The system as it is described in the Patent is based on a camera (described as "a camera takes a picture of the display and calculates to which location the user has pointed."). The patent describes perfectly well the PS Move motion controls, but not the Wii motion controls.

EDIT:
Your link to the first patent doesn't work for me (neither the one in the article, nor the link in the comments), here is a google link to the patent
http://www.google.com/patents/US6285379

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Christian Keichel on 15th May 2014 9:39am

Posted:3 months ago

#2

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,154 939 0.8
This doesn't seem like great timing!

Posted:3 months ago

#3
Hi Christian - and as a reminder to everyone - I linked to the first patent in the starting comment in this thread.

Posted:3 months ago

#4

Neil Young
Programmer

283 331 1.2
The link in the article and the original post are to local files - note the "file://" scheme at the start of the URL.

Posted:3 months ago

#5

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,246 2,233 1.0
What has this to do with the way the Wii or the Wii U controller works? The system as it is described in the Patent is based on a camera
The front of the Wii remote is actually an IR camera.

However, that patent is way too late to have any merit.

Posted:3 months ago

#6

Nicholas Pantazis
Senior Editor

1,017 1,463 1.4
Wrong company to target Philips. Nintendo doesn't settle patent trolls. They'll fight you to the last and you'll be paying their millions in legal fees.

Posted:3 months ago

#7

Christian Keichel
Journalist

640 876 1.4
@ Jim

You are of course right, I looked at the thing from the wrong side.

Posted:3 months ago

#8

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Philips has two patents relating to "interactive virtual modelling" and "human computer interaction", "patent 379"- "Virtual Body Controlling Device", "patent 231" - "User Interface System Based on Pointing Device,"
Honestly these patent descriptions seem very vague and ambiguous. They can be anything really...
The devices named in the suit are as follows: "Wii console, Wii Remote Plus Controller, Wii Remote Controller, Wii Nunchuk Controller, Wii MotionPlus, Wii Balance Board, Wii U console, Wii U GamePad, and Wii Mini console."
I dont recall phillips having a hand in the creation of any of these devices.

I just think they are trying to kick Nintendo while they are down, nothing more than patent trolling. And after what Phillips did when given the opportunity to create not 1, but 3 Zelda games... i think they should stay very quite.

Posted:3 months ago

#9
Another example I suspect of how broken the global patent system is, all the patent system as is, tends to do nowadays is hold back human technological development, I suspect instead of generating profits it's putting a stopper on overall growth and damaging economies more than it contributes.

Companies can file bogus vague patents then take people who've been using the tech that may be remotely related to whatever they filed for donkeys years to court doing nothing but filling courtrooms wasting millions and making even more lawyers happy, it's like that darned episode of farscape the one where 90% of the populace turned into lawyers in some planet or other, the more lawyers there are the more they make reasons for there to be even more, the lawmakers are all lawyers as it is.

There no such thing as intellectual property, there no such thing as property either mind, land and buildings exist, property doesn't, hell even money is a concept, nowadays backed by nothing atall, there all just concept's and so can be changed, think of all the products that could be created if people were more free to combine all the latest innovations together whilst only having to pay a pre-set fixed percentage of final product cost fee for all patents used, no matter how many, and all these innovative products would help spure more innovative products, as they tend to do, the shere numbers sold would ensure inventors got their money's worthand and yet more potential for profit, no patents as they currently are now nothing but a blight on society, providing nothing of benefit to society companies or inventor's alike.

Posted:3 months ago

#10

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,156 1,076 0.5
Perhaps Philips needs to invent a time machine so they could re-file this suit in, say... 2006? Not that they'd win back then, mind you... :P

Posted:3 months ago

#11

Andrew Jakobs
Lead Programmer

230 89 0.4
If you look at the original filing, yes it's files in the US on 2013, but it was already filed in 2002 in the EU.. But I agree, they should also have filed it in the US in 2002..

I wonder if Sony is paying Philips for the use of the patent, because the second one is clearly how the Move also works..

Posted:3 months ago

#12

Paul Jace
Merchandiser

902 1,332 1.5
Is this in regards to the CD-i? If so Philips needs to just take that loss and move on.

Posted:3 months ago

#13

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