Nintendo wins in Motiva patent dispute

ITC ruling upheld, Nintendo not liable for patent infringement

The United States Court of Appeals has upheld a previous International Trade Commission ruling finding that Nintendo did not infringe on patents held by Motiva, LLC. Motiva held two patents, U.S. Patent numbers 7,292,151 and 7,492,268, related to a setup for measuring user movement for the purposes of health and fitness.

The company sued Nintendo in 2008, but Nintendo argued that Motiva had never attempted to use the patents to create its own product or license those patents to other companies. Seeing that Motiva had made no effort to commercialize its patents beyond the suit against Nintendo, the ITC ultimately decided in favor of Nintendo. The ITC ruled in January 2012 that the focus of Motiva's case was to win damages or a settlement, not to license its patents to create usable products. The Court of Appeals agreed with the ITC's findings.

"The evidence demonstrated that Motiva's litigation was targeted at financial gains, not at encouraging adoption of Motiva's patented technology. The inventors looked forward to financial gains through Motiva's litigation, not hopes of stimulating investment or partnerships with manufacturers," wrote Circuit Judge Sharon Prost in the Court of Appeals ruling.

"There is simply no reasonable likelihood that, after successful litigation against Nintendo, Motiva's patented technology would have been licensed by partners."

"Motiva was never close to launching a product incorporating the patented technology-nor did any partners show any interest in doing so, for years before or any time after the launch of the Wii. Motiva's only remaining prototype was a product far from completion, and a multitude of development and testing steps remained prior to finalizing a product for production," she added.

"We are very pleased with this result. The court confirmed that Motiva's sole activity, litigation against Nintendo, did not satisfy the ITC's domestic industry requirement," said Nintendo of America deputy general counsel Richard Medway. "Nintendo has a passionate tradition of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others. We vigorously defend patent lawsuits when we firmly believe that we have not infringed another party's patent."

The case in question is Motiva LLC v. International Trade Commission, U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-1252.

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Latest comments (3)

Wow. I never realised this could be used as a defence - so much for patent trolls now. If you don't actually MAKE a product, and do something with your patents - you lose rights to them. The way it should be really.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
I agree Michael and wonder why it hasn't always been this way. You should never be able to get a big settlement for a patent if you never even produced a commercial product and have sat on the patent for years/decades. Score one for the good guys.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
That's actually always been the case but it's unfortunately rarely followed.
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