Patents are a weird thing. Companies want to protect their ideas and designs, but other companies, with similarly creative people can come up with something close but different. Then it gets thrust to the courts to sort it all out. Such is the case with hardware makers Gamevice and Nintendo, with the former arguing that the latter's Joy-Con controllers for the Switch violate a patent it was granted in 2015.
The case, brought in the Central District in California, alleges that the Joy-Con design is too close to the patent, which was awarded for a "Combination computing device and game controller with flexible bridge section," While the Joy-Cons have no "flexible bridge," the ideas may be derivative enough to raise a few issues. It will be up to district Judge Stephen V. Wilson to decide if the case has enough merit to move forward. Gamevice is asking the court to halt sales and production of the Joy-Cons and the Switch, as well as unspecified damages.
Gamevice was originally known as WikiPad, and had attempted to create its own Android-powered gaming device with a detachable controller back in 2013. The company later rebranded to its current name and now produces a variety of controllers for mobile devices.
We sat down with Gamevice President of sales Fraser Townley back in 2015 to get a look at the Gamevice product that is designed to attach to both sides of a tablet.