Nintendo hit with patent infringement lawsuit over “Wiimote”December 12, 2006

Nintendo, makers of one of the hottest Christmas gifts this year, the Wii, is being sued for patent infringement. Interlink is suing the electronics giant over the "Wiimote," the common name for the Wii's controller. Below is the Wiimote and Figure 1 of Interlink's patent:

Interlink's patent is directed toward a "trigger operated electronic device," and asserts that the Wiimote's design and layout infringes. Interlink is seeking an injunction to prevent sales and importation of the Wii as well as unspecified damages, although some are skeptical of Interlink's chances for success.One of Nintendo's major competitors, Sony (who just released its own new system, the Playstation 3), was sued in 2002 by Immersion Technologies for patent infringement. That suit was also about a controller, this time focusing on the vibration feature built into Sony's DualShock controllers. In 2004, the company won a $82 million judgment against Sony which was eventually upheld on appeal. The new Playstation 3 controller, the SIXAXIS, does not have a vibration feature. Sony stated this was because the vibration interfered with motion sensing features built into the controller, although others have speculated it was to avoid having to pay Immersion additional royalties. Will the Wiimote become the next DualShock? Time will tell.

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