LONDON The Washington based International Trade Commission will rule over a patent violation claim against games console maker Nintendo brought by a Rockland, Maryland based research company, Hillcrest Labs, which says the hugely successful Wii console violates its IP.
Three of the Hillcrest patents in the dispute are for motion-control technology and a fourth is for graphical interface software used on the television. The popular Wii player allows users to simulate games by swinging a motion-sensing controller like a bat, tennis racket or other item.
Hillcrest manufactures "the Loop", a remote control that utilizes its Freespace motion control technology. This technology has also been licensed to various companies, including Kodak, Logitech International and Universal Electronics.
At this stage the ITC's investigation is preliminary, and the organization said it has merely decided to examine the patents to see if Hillcrest's claims are justified. However, Hillcrest has demanded that Nintendo stop selling Wiis and Wii Remotes until a settlement is reached.
Nintendo (Kyoto, Japan) said it would vigorously fight the claims, which were first raised in a lawsuit filed last month.
"After a judge is assigned to preside over the investigation, Nintendo will have the opportunity to present its case," the company said in a statement. "Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of other companies, and believes that none of its products infringes the Hillcrest Laboratories patents."
Nintendo has had other patent-infringement complaints filed against it as the Wii gained popularity. The company is facing a ban on the Wii Classic controller, which is sold separately from the Wii system, unless it can persuade an appeals court to overturn a $21 million verdict won by Anascape of Tyler, Texas.