Nintendo Beats Latest Patent Infringement Lawsuit

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on June 11, 2009

Thanks to its huge success with the Wii, Nintendo has become a favorite target for companies looking to collect revenue off patents they say the Japanese company has used illegally in its hit game console.

But patent holding company Guardian Media Technologies is one company that’s walking away empty-handed. U.S. District Judge Manuel Real summarily dismissed Guardian’s claim that Nintendo infringed on two patents that cover V-chip technology used to censor video content based on age-appropriate ratings.

Guardian acquired the patents from an Australian inventor. It has gone after a slew of electronics makers seeking cash. Only two, Bose and Fujitsu, have settled.

Nintendo secured a speedy end to the lawsuit, less than six months after it was filed, by succesfully arguing that the patents cover standard video transmissions. The Wii offers parental controls, but the company’s lawyers argued it doesn’t play movies or TV shows that would have been covered under such patents.

With that nuisance gone, Nintendo turns to a much more dangerous lawsuit. Maryland-based Hillcrest Labs contends Nintendo violated three of its patents that relate to motion-control devices used with a television. Hillcrest has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban Nintendo from importing the Wii into the country.

Barring an out of court settlement, that case is expected to go to trial soon.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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