Nintendo Wiimote Patent Infringement Suit

News Posted 10/12/2006
Author: PV5150
Source: Ars Technica

California-based Interlink, a company that manufacturers remote controls and other devices for business presentations, is suing Nintendo over an alleged patent violation involving the Wii’s motion-sensitive remote control. Interlink filed the complaint in the US District Court in Delaware (where their corporation is legally formed), claiming that their 2005 patent for a “Trigger Operated Electronic Device” (US Patent 6,850,221 B1) was violated by the Wiimote.

The patent depicts an image of Interlink’s “Trigger Operated Electronic Device” which looks oddly like a Star Trek: The Next Generation phaser and comes with a couple of buttons on top and a small vertical IR sensor that sits next to a computer monitor. The legal filing does not disclose the exact nature of the infringement, but it does not appear as though the patent covers the kind of full motion sensitivity found in the Wiimote. Careful reading of the patent itself reveals that the pointer simply acts as a mouse replacement, with the user moving a pressure-sensitive pad around on the remote and the computer tracking this motion as mouse movement through the IR connection.

Interlinks controller

So will Nintendo settle with Interlink or fight them? The consequences for losing can be severe, as Sony found out when they lost to Immersion and found themselves holding a bill for over $90 million.

Feel free to discuss this interesting development in our forum