Nintendo facing new Wii patent suit

[UPDATE] Texas firm alleges that Nintendo's latest console infringes on its design for a space-saving semiconductor structure.

The new generation of high-tech consoles has been accompanied by a new generation of patent lawsuits.

Last year, Lucent Technologies took Microsoft to court over the system's out-of-the-box MPEG-2 decoding abilities. Meanwhile, Nintendo was sued over the trigger on the motion-sensing controller for the Wii. This year has already seen Sony subject to a pair of legal actions, one regarding the physical construction of its Blu-ray discs, and another surrounding its digital encryption technology.

Of those cases, the only one resolved so far is that of Nintendo, as the plaintiff voluntarily dropped the case in March. However, the console maker's legal battles aren't behind it, as last week another company stepped forward with an all-new suit over the Wii.

According to an attorney for the plaintiff, Texas-based Lonestar Inventions alleges that the Wii infringes on a patent it holds for a "high capacitance structure in a semiconductor device." The patent in question was issued in 1993, and details a space-saving method tripling the effectiveness of parallel plate capacitors by using layers of conducting strips.

This is not the first time Lonestar has gone to court over this patent. Previous disputes with Texas Instruments and Marvell Semiconductor were eventually settled, and earlier this month, Lonestar also sued the Eastman Kodak Company alleging infringement of the patent.

[UPDATE] After a several-day silences, a Nintendo representative told GameSpot that, "Nintendo of America received no prior contact from Lonestar before they filed a lawsuit. Additionally, the lawsuit itself does not identify any product or component from Nintendo, making it impossible for Nintendo to publicly comment on this matter.

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Discussion

265 comments
CampusVoice
CampusVoice

What? This is ridiculous. The trigger is just a typical game controller trigger. Nintendo invented it with the N64 controller! -----signature----- here

nintendofreak_2
nintendofreak_2

Seems like all that happens to the big 3 anymore is that they get sued by some company nobody knows or cares about just to get some extra money to save them from going bankrupt. Pretty sad.

JivexDragon
JivexDragon

Currently, I, too, am suing Nintendo for infringement of a patent on "a white box used to enclose the circuitry of a gaming system." Also, I am suing Sony for infringement of a patent on "a high-speed fan used to cool electrical equipment."

gorilla_killa
gorilla_killa

All of you are gonna get sued for posting up comments. Im get sued right now for posting this up.

postbox
postbox

I invented everything in this world! Sue you all! heheeheheh

goldeneye_basic
goldeneye_basic

lackey375 "A bunch of companies juste want $$$$$$$" Of course they do, just like 99.9% of all people on the planet!!! lackey375 "how about erning it instead of suing pple" How about developing your own technology instead of stealing other peoples patented inventions?

NinjaFoot
NinjaFoot

It wouldn't be America if greedy, bloodsucking lawyers weren't filing suits over everything.

gmayronne
gmayronne

sue em all, let god sort em out. the american way baby, WOOHOO!!!

Zoard
Zoard

I totally agree with longsleeve... where should i burn the evidence?

TryMe01
TryMe01

texans have issues against nintendo for some odd reason

Zonelezz
Zonelezz

lol wow sued for everything now a days

longsleeve
longsleeve

IT'S LAWSUIT SEASON! GET YOUR SUEGUN, JIM, WE'RE GOING OUT! C'MON GIT!

BRETTJB99
BRETTJB99

1993? Nitendo sould create their own thing!Not things from 1993 get in the 21st century nintendo and Lucent should stop trying to bring everyone to court for their money!Next thing will be them suing Sony for technology they didnt even create!Get money the old fashion way,sell your tech!:(

GamePro007
GamePro007

effthat is so right... you guys should not worry about this lawsuit... im sure nintendo has competent lawyers on their side anyway and this case will easily be dismissed

NallRuby
NallRuby

@Crombian: While I do not doubt this particular lawsuit and the scale of the company (they do have considerable sway if they could settle other suits on the patent with big companies), the timing is a little suspect. If the company wanted the lawsuit to help them against Nintendo, then why did they wait a half-year just to file it as opposed to putting it up near the release date for better impact? Something on this suit just does not seem to make sense.

RoyFanatic
RoyFanatic

dmn_link: Some people here DO know what they're talking about. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so there's nothing wrong with posting what you believe the outcome should be. What's "sad" about opinions? Edit: You spelled "verdict" wrong. Sorry, I'm just a spelling freak like that. ^_^

ahyumifan
ahyumifan

The name was familiar to me, and when I searched this Lonestar company, I realized they try to do industrial thevery in South Korea, and they fed good money (lobbying is illegal in South Korea) to avoid the responsibility. Now they turn that on Nintendo sueing for nothing, and yeah I am darn angry.

jd130oo
jd130oo

fauljosh azianai said: "anyway, this one actually seems to have some basis, Lonestar Inventions isn't a "small" company" How does this have some basis? It was a very broad patent registered 14 years ago. Since then the company has done NOTHING to develop the technology. It exists only on paper and in very basic terms. I could just go file a patent for, say, a flying car using an advanced hover system. Then all I have to do is wait until a company develops something similiar and then sue. Man you're so right. That's why I'm happy that you can't register patents in my country, even when I'm a software developer.

black_ice23
black_ice23

where does this end? , serioulsy whats next? the inventor of the remote is gonna sue over the wiimotes resemblences to the tv remote? people these days got nothing better to do than sue for every little thing? and come on the wii design had been out since almost b4 last E3 and only like almost a year later they decide to sue? probablly waited to see if the wii would sink or swim and now its making a killing, probablly though hey lets get in on the action

Nuk1euz
Nuk1euz

Stupid small companies trying to make it big by stealing money from bigger companies. Why not just sell the patent technology to different electronic companies and make money that way, without wasting time and money even on lawsuits?

lackey375
lackey375

A bunch of companies juste want $$$$$$$ how about erning it instead of suing pple geez

kurtven
kurtven

Greedy sons of B...... Leave Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony alone

Wiifanboy_4life
Wiifanboy_4life

Uh-oh... Well, I already have my Wii and the controllers, so according to ex-post-facto or something, I should be okay. I think that goes for anyone who owns a Wii already actually. Or I could just be babbling...

dmn_link
dmn_link

Most of the people in here are commenting like they know what they are talking about, and even making their own veredict based on this news article... sad.

Crombian
Crombian

@NallRuby: As noted in the article, disputes filed By LoneStar Inventions against both Texas Instruments and Marvell Semiconductor were settled... this suggests that LoneStar had enough merit in each of their claims to warrant monetary pay-outs from two of the largest mechanical research and electronics manufacturing companies in the country. That alone should set enough precedence ("true firm ground" as you put it) for even the Big N to take pause.

GameKram
GameKram

Uh-oh. I didn't understand what the lawsuit was over, but i doubt this will be good for the Big-N.

Crombian
Crombian

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

KingBroly
KingBroly

So, anyone care to translate what this patent supposedly does? It just sounds like an electricity saver to me.

NallRuby
NallRuby

@azianai: Lonestar isn't a minor company, I can hand you that. However, notice that they've thrown numerous lawsuits about that patent alone, which renders any chance of being taken seriously moot. And I also have to note that these lawsuits didn't become rank-and-file until long after the sales for the new generation consoles reached a fever pitch. My verdict? These lawsuits hold no true firm ground and seem to serve mostly to bump up some smaller companies pocketbooks as opposed to what copyright infringement was supposed to do. Namely, prevent theft for profit.

Autolycus
Autolycus

"quick someone else is making money. SUE THEM" aka "Im a cry baby and a complete waste of life. give me something"

fauljosh
fauljosh

azianai said: "anyway, this one actually seems to have some basis, Lonestar Inventions isn't a "small" company" How does this have some basis? It was a very broad patent registered 14 years ago. Since then the company has done NOTHING to develop the technology. It exists only on paper and in very basic terms. I could just go file a patent for, say, a flying car using an advanced hover system. Then all I have to do is wait until a company develops something similiar and then sue.

r_mck
r_mck

@ edhc44 lol hay does anyone think that nintendo should sue every game company for copying the PATENT of the nes style of control pad

razu_gamer
razu_gamer

OK this is getting out of cotrol...

jocaju
jocaju

This is ridiculous

edhc44
edhc44

@ r_mck George Foreman should've done that already...

r_mck
r_mck

ooooh no someone sue sony for ps3 looking like a bread bin lol

edhc44
edhc44

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

It won't be long before they drop the case as well.

Slash_out
Slash_out

It's funny how insects are atracted to shiny things.

effthat
effthat

It's not the nature of business in the USA. In fact, we're greatly comprised of a service based economy at this point. The system may not be perfect, but it's better than nothing and it's what we got right now. Unless you're ready to amass an army and perform a coup, please don't provide lip service to the problems with the government. You won't rework the machine by posting on here.

azianai
azianai

just wonderin, where are all those people who were ripping sony for being sued now? all those fanboys stopped talking? lol anyway, this one actually seems to have some basis, Lonestar Inventions isn't a "small" company

hardcoreicon
hardcoreicon

this company Lucent tech. is probably losing money and is suing like crazy

frogman666
frogman666

lol these are getting to be funny

styphin
styphin

Hey, a patent is a patent.

makemeweak
makemeweak

Seriously. The lawsuits need to stop.

AndyRaeside
AndyRaeside

Isn't this just the nature of business in the USA though ?... The fact that you CAN and is your constitutional RIGHT... to sue anyone over anything you see fit ?. I've heard the stories of people suing the likes of Hagen Daas beacuse after eating so much of it they couldn't fit into there jeans. Mother sued McDonalds because her 7 year old son got fat after eating so many Happy Meals trying to get all the toys... stuff like that.

GunGriffin
GunGriffin

Yet agian more small time companies claim copyright laws were broken. This is getting outa hand, now they are sewing Nintendo? I guss everybody wan'ts a their cut of the cash being made by these maga game console makers. Gees you would think they would of got the picture that they missed the banwagon a long time ago.

Tylendal
Tylendal

Did anyone hear about the company sueing E-Bay about a patent on the "Buy it now" button? There are companies like Lonestar that take advantage of the U.S. legal system to make money off of lawsuits, and use said money to acquire obscure patents. It's disguisting, worse even than tele-marketers.