The Japan-based video game giant Nintendo is in trouble. A small US technology company, Hillcrest Labs is now starting a lawsuit against Nintendo, accusing them in patent infringement. Hillcrest Labs insists that they own the patents to the technology that Wii uses. For this reason the company asked the U.S. Trade panel to stop Nintendo from importing its Wii systems to the United States. The company has also filed a suit in federal court to make Nintendo pay for caused damages.
Let’s delve a bit deeper into the patents in question. As Washington Post reports, Hillcrest’s patented technological specificity is that, unlike other systems, it allows users browse the Web, control their cable box or in general interact with content not by pressing a button on a controller, but by moving a device left-right, up and down in front of a television or computer screen.
Meanwhile, Wii video game system allows players move a remote or a controller left and right to play its different games. That is to say, the technological principles of functioning those two systems are similar.
As Washington Post reports, a Hillcrest Labs’ representative made the statement, “While Hillcrest Labs has a great deal of respect for Nintendo and the Wii, Hillcrest Labs believes that Nintendo is in clear violation of its patents and has taken this action to protect its intellectual property rights,” They also added that there would not be further comments.
Nintendo officials, so far, have no comments regarding the suit. They still seem to be in the dark about it. wii.Qj.net quoted Nintendo spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa saying, “[We] haven’t received any notice of the lawsuit and therefore are not in a position to comment at this time.”
This is not the first lawsuit that has been brought up against Nintendo, another company tried to reap some of the lucrative harvest that the Wii has been raking it. They tried, and succeeded- a few months ago, Nintendo lost a case to Anascape Ltd and was forced to pay $21 million (US).
In the previous situation, Nintendo did not lose much, $21 million is a drop in the bucket for this money-making giant. The current lawsuit however, carries with it a big threat. If Hillcrest Labs wins, sales of the Nintendo Wii will be totally banned in the US. This, if it comes to fruition, will be devastating to Nintendo. However, according to expert estimates, possibilities of such situation are very small, even if Hillcrest’s claims are valid. So, will David beat Goliath? Only time, and a team of expensive lawyers, can tell.
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