Nintendo sued over 3DS screen technology

The Nintendo 3DS allegedly infringes upon a glasses-free 3D patent filed in 2003, according to a new lawsuit placed against the hardware manufacturer.


Tomita Technologies recently brought suit against Nintendo for allegedly infringing on a patent filed in 2003 and issued in 2008. Patent 7417664--"Stereoscopic image picking up and display system based upon optical axes cross-point information"--does have some similarities to the recently-released 3DS. Primarily, the patent is for a "pick-up and display system" that can offer stereoscopic 3D imagery by displaying different images to each eye. The end result is 3D without glasses, a key feature of Nintendo's handheld.

"Nintendo's America's infringement of the '664 patent has been, and continues to be, willful," the complaint alleges, without detailing the exact nature of the infringement. Tomita claims to be damaged "in an amount not yet determined." The company is seeking a trial by jury, and awaits a decision by the court.

Nintendo is no stranger to litigation, with each platform launch eventually meeting a lawsuit. The Wii's motion controls and DS' touch controls have been the topic of previous suits.

We've reached out to Nintendo of America for comment.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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  • reply
    July 6, 2011 3:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Nintendo sued over 3DS screen technology.

    The Nintendo 3DS allegedly infringes upon a glasses-free 3D patent filed in 2003, according to a new lawsuit placed against the hardware manufacturer.

    • reply
      July 6, 2011 3:37 PM

      Patent law should be revised. I think that a working prototype should be required before patenting some stuff.

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        July 6, 2011 4:09 PM


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          July 6, 2011 4:20 PM

          seriously. it's getting just silly.

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        July 6, 2011 5:30 PM

        A working prototype should definitely be the hurdle for someone wanting a patent.

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        July 6, 2011 5:37 PM

        Great, so when giant corporation nintendo steals your idea and beats you to market, they then own your idea.
        You know prototypes cost money... designers and inventors wouldn't be able to own their own inventions cause patents are how you own your own idea.

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        July 6, 2011 7:46 PM

        Agreeded... There should be a limit to how long you can hold on to that patent if you do NOTHING WITH IT... That's the part that really gets me is that they do nothing with it and just sit around until someone does and sue em... SAd

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        July 7, 2011 9:41 AM

        this isn't the same frivoulous type of case where someone patents 'moving a finger to do something'..this is a pretty detailed method of displaying 3d. I think they have a case.

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      July 6, 2011 3:38 PM

      this kind of shit is so gay

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      July 6, 2011 3:50 PM

      It didn't take me two minutes to Google older patents on stereoscopic and/or parallax barrier stuff.

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      July 6, 2011 5:12 PM

      Why do companies wait so fricken long to pull this crap? I would give some merit if it was brought up like a month of it's existance... These lawsuits are a waste of time. If you have a product out on the market then this vapor crap then that's one thing. To patent something to have never created the product is lame.

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      July 6, 2011 5:29 PM

      Not sure how this is different from what Sharp originally developed years before Nintendo even thought of this. But, maybe it's all in the definition of "pick-up and display"??? meh.

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        July 6, 2011 7:48 PM

        IIRC, Nintendo is using a Sharp display for the 3DS.

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          July 6, 2011 9:43 PM

          Exactly. They see easy settlement money with Nintendo as the defendent.

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      July 6, 2011 9:14 PM

      Same old story. If it's successful, it's ours. If it's crap, we don't give a shit. Every time.

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      July 6, 2011 9:26 PM

      Reading through the claims this seems like a very different device than the 3DS. Only the first claim really seems similar, and only in a general sense. I'm not a patent lawyer by any means, but I'd fight this one, I think. Especially given they've been experimenting with 3D since well before the patent was applied for.

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      July 7, 2011 9:09 AM

      Proving once again.... Nintendo has no ideas of their own anymore....

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