LONDON Games console specialist Nintendo has won a patent infringement case in a U.S. District Court in Texas against Texas-based Fenner that alleged the Japanese group infringed on a patent covering an interface for joysticks used in the hugely successful Wii console as well as the Nintendo GameCube.
The suit was filed in 2007 and a jury trial was due to begin Tuesday (March 17) but Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas, dismissed the case.
Commenting on the outcome, Rick Flamm, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President, Legal & General Counsel said: : "Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others. We also vigorously defend patent lawsuits when we firmly believe that we have not infringed another party's patent, despite the risks that this policy entails."
The patent in question, U.S. patent 6,297,751, was granted in 2001 to Lucent Technologies for a "low-voltage joystick port interface" that converts analog signals from a joystick to digital signals that signify its position. At some point afterwards it was acquired by Fenner, which had previously pursued patent claims against companies including Alcatel, 3Com, Juniper Networks and Hewlett-Packard in the same court.
The original complaint also named Sony when it was filed in January 2007, but amended on Feb. 26 to remove the company's name. No information was provided about why the company dropped its pursuit of Sony.
Nintendo has been a regular target of patent holders who are trying to collect royalties.
For instance, there is an on-going case 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