June 21, 2014
Philips Wins Patent Victory Over Nintendo In UK High Court
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
The hand gesture and motion recognition technology featured in Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U video game consoles infringes upon patents held by Philips Electronics NV, UK High Court Judge Colin Birss ruled on Friday.
In a lawsuit originally filed by the Dutch electronics company in 2012, Philips accused the Japanese gaming giant of infringing upon three of its remote control patents, according to PC World’s Loek Essers. In Friday’s ruling, Birss said that one of those claims was invalid, but declared that Nintendo infringed upon amended versions of two other patents pertaining to a “user interface system based on a pointing device.”
The patents describe a computer system that includes handheld pointing devices, a camera and a sensor capable of tracking physical movement, Essers explained. The device is used for hand-gesture input commands that are transferred to fixed hardware, then analyzed based on the trajectory of the handheld device’s movement. Philips’ patent also said that the technology, which uses room localization beacons, could be used to play video games.
Birss ruled that Phillips claims to patents related to a device that utilizes a camera and motion sensor was validated, and cited a Wii console playing the Wii Tennis software as an example that uses that combination of technology and thus infringes upon the claim. The Dutch company said that they offer licenses for their technology and had tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a deal with Nintendo in 2011 before pursuing legal action.
Philips spokesman Bjorn Teuwsen told Reuters that the patents are for “motion, gesture and pointing control that we make available to manufacturers of set-top boxes and games consoles through a licensing program.” Tuewsen failed to discuss the potential financial implications from the verdict, noting only that the company has requested “fair compensation for the use of our patents.”
Nintendo representatives told Bloomberg reporter Andrea Gerlin that they will appeal the decision, and that they still believe that the patents are invalid, since the company has been selling the device in the UK since 2006.
“Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others,” the company said. “Nintendo is committed to ensuring that this judgment does not affect continued sales of its highly acclaimed line of video game hardware, software and accessories and will actively pursue all such legitimate steps as are necessary to avoid any interruptions to its business.”
However, Gerlin noted that, in his ruling, Birss wrote that the “common general knowledge did not include a device combining a physical motion sensor with a camera and the reasons advanced by Nintendo for putting those two sensors together in one unit are unconvincing.” He is expected to issue a ruling on damages next month.
Philips also filed similar intellectual property claims against Nintendo in Germany in 2012, in France in 2013, and in the US District Court for the District of Delaware in May, 2014, according to Essers. As part of the US case, the Dutch firm is also seeking a ban on imports and sales of both the Wii and Wii U consoles. All three cases are still pending.