Nintendo Slapped with DS Patent Lawsuit

By Aaron Linde, Jul 09, 2008 1:48pm PDT Following Nintendo's $21M patent lawsuit payout, an Illinois man has filed suit against the company alleging its Nintendo DS handheld violates a patent filed in 2003, according to a GamePolitics report.

Plaintiff John R. Martin's patent application describes "an electronic game device system [which] is switchable between an amusement mode and a gaming or gambling mode." The application also included an illustration of the device (pictured left).

While Martin does not directly refer to the Nintendo DS, the device also includes an "improved method of operating a touch screen on a CRT or ICD computer screen uses finger release as input registering," which describes input functionality similar to the handheld's touch screen. Martin's patent was filed in August of 2003.

Nintendo issued a response denying the allegations, stating that it had been notified of the patents in November of 2007 and requesting that the lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice.

According to the report, the plaintiff also has a similar suit filed against Apple over the iPod's touch-sensitive scrolling wheel.

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  • What the fuck? Does this guy have the patent for the touch screen or something? Honestly it's obvious his device is nothing like either devices.

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    • Well the patent actually covers whats in the claims. One of the claims is posted below. I am in no position to make a judgement about whether the DS does or does not infringe this patent, but it seems like people in this thread hav ea vast misunderstanding of patent law.

      1. In a method of operating an electronic machine of the type having a touch screen upon which buttons are displayed for operator input or selection by the operator placing or sliding a finger on at least one of the desired buttons, the improvement comprising:

      displaying a plurality of buttons on the screen, with each of the plurality of buttons having visually defined boundaries on the screen;

      defining an enlarged sensitive area for each button having a larger area than the visually defined boundary for that button;

      activating the enlarged sensitive area for a first button when a finger touch which is still touching the screen is sensed for said first button and concurrently highlighting the visually defined boundary for said first button;

      registering a button selection for said first button when the finger touch is released anywhere within the enlarged sensitive area for said first button;
      un-highlighting said first button when a finger which is still touching the screen exits the enlarged sensitive area of said first button without being released, and, when finger touch is sensed from finger placement on or finger sliding on a visually defined boundary for a second button with said previously highlighted first button being unhighlighted, activating the enlarged sensitive area for said second button and concurrently highlighting the visually defined boundary for said second highlighted button.