Nintendo Wins Patent Dispute Over Controllers
(CN) - Controllers for Nintendo's popular Wii and GameCube video games do not infringe patents filed by Anascape, the Federal Circuit ruled.
The Washington, D.C.-based panel reversed a 2008 Texas jury verdict that the video game giant had infringed Anascape's patented controller.
The issue hinged on whether Anascape's patent, filed in 2000, was a continuation of its 1996 patent. Anascape conceded that if the 2000 patent was not a continuation of the earlier patent, its claims could be invalidated by Sony's DualShock controller, which entered the U.S. market in 1998.
Nintendo argued that Anascape's earlier patent covers a controller with just a "single input member," though Anascape said the patent supports "controllers having multiple input members that together operate in six degrees of freedom," according to the ruling.
The three-judge panel reversed the verdict against Nintendo, saying Anascape's claim "does not match the description in the patent."
Anascape had argued that the changes in the 2000 patent weren't new. "That position is untenable, for the changes are extensive and substantive," Judge Pauline Newman wrote. She said the 2000 patent removed limitations and added broader claims. "This is classic new material," she said.
Because the 2000 patent isn't simply a continuation of the 1996 patent, the court ruled, the newer patent is invalidating by Sony's controller.
Nintendo's general counsel, Rick Flamm, praised the ruling in a statement released online.
"Today the Federal Circuit's ruling confirmed that none of Nintendo's controllers infringe," Flamm wrote. "We appreciate that our position has been vindicated."