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Court Orders Nintendo to Pay $10 Million for Patent Violation

Nintendo must pay iLife Technologies $10 million for patent infringement, a Dallas jury ruled this week. The suit that prompted that ruling dates to 2013, when iLife alleged that technologies used in the Wii Remote violated numerous patents and Nintendo thus owed the company compensation.

As noted in a report on Engadget, iLife filed similar suits against numerous technology companies, such as Fitbit and Under Armour, but those were dismissed and likely were settled out of court for much smaller sums. In the suit against Nintendo, iLife originally sought $144 million.

A Gamasutra report indicates iLife believes Nintendo violated a total of six patents. iLife had originally used motion sensing technology to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome, and to recognize dangerous falls among the elderly.

For its part, Nintendo maintains the iLife patents were too broad, with a “lack of an adequate written description,” which one might have expected would lead to a dismissal in court. Nintendo argued its use of motion technology, despite also using an accelerometer, a sensor, and a processor, went down “very different paths” when it came to actual application.

“The jury awarded iLife $10 million in damages,” Nintendo told Glixel. “Nintendo disagrees with the decision, as Nintendo does not infringe iLife’s patent and the patent is invalid. Nintendo looks forward to raising those issues with the district court and with the court of appeals.”

Nintendo has a long history of fighting similar suits, which have been brought against the company on a regular basis since Wii became a huge commercial success, by all manner of companies commonly regarded by the public as “patent trolls.”

“We are very pleased with the court’s decision,” said Ajay Singh, Nintendo of America’s Director of Litigation and Compliance, when Nintendo won a patent case this May that alleged Mii character creation used technology patented for use with police sketches. “The decision marks another case in which Nintendo’s unique ideas overcame unjustified threats of patent infringement. Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products and we will continue to vigorously defend all our products from meritless patent lawsuits.”

Perhaps Nintendo will issue a similarly exultant press release in the future, if higher courts decide the Texas jury produced a faulty ruling. Until then, it looks like this could be one of the few patent cases Nintendo loses.

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