Nintendo loses 3DS patent lawsuit

Federal jury awards former Sony veteran $30.2 million in damages; Nintendo says verdict will not impact 3DS sales.

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Nintendo has been found guilty in a patent infringement lawsuit relating to the 3DS. As reported by Reuters, a federal jury Wednesday awarded former longtime Sony inventor Seijiro Tomita $30.2 million in compensatory damages. The patent in question relates to technology Tomita created for developing 3D images without the need for 3DS glasses.

During courtoom proceedings last month, Tomita's legal representation--Joe Diamant--told jurors that his client showed a prototype of his technology to seven Nintendo officials at the 2003 meeting, four of which would go on to assist in the creation of the 3DS.

Nintendo attorney Scott Lindvall argued that the suit was without merit, claiming the 3DS does not use key aspects of Tomita's patent. He further argued Tomita's 2003 meeting with Nintendo was merely one of many the Mario maker had with merchants selling 3D technology.

Tomita originally sued Nintendo in 2011. He claimed last month that he was entitled to $9.80 for every 3DS sold, meaning the $30.2 million in compensatory damages are just a fraction of what he could be been awarded. As of December 31, Nintendo has sold 29.84 million 3DS units, meaning Tomita believed he was owed $292,432,000 from the Mario maker.

Nintendo responded to the decision in a statement sent to Kotaku. It affirms the compensatory damage figure, but claims Tomita's patent "did not relate to the 3D games playable on the 3DS."

"A jury awarded $30.2 million in damages to Tomita Technologies in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Tomita against Nintendo," a line from the statement reads. "The Tomita patent did not relate to the 3D games playable on the Nintendo 3DS. The trial was held in U.S. District Court in New York before Judge Jed Rakoff."

"Nintendo is confident that the result will be set aside. The jury's verdict will not impact Nintendo's continued sales in the United States of its highly acclaimed line of video game hardware, software and accessories, including the Nintendo 3DS," it goes on. "Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others."

Discussion

130 comments
KratosHump3R
KratosHump3R

do you think this was one of the main reasons they rolled out the 2DS this year?

sortajan
sortajan

nintendo may be full of shit, but so is this lawsuit. i still doubt nintendo is really guilty. after all, a skilled lawyer can (and would gladly) make mother theresa look like the green river killer's mentor

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

This surprises me. I wouldn't expect this kind of thing from Nintendo.

gearfreak117
gearfreak117

tbh here that is just playingt sad i wouldent give to shits a few years later :P  i would say hey everybodys haveing fun and enjoy knowing that the idea became a sucess


cheamo
cheamo

Well I know one lawyer who is probably 20 million dollars richer, lol.

FashionFreak
FashionFreak

BFD


Ninendo pays a settlement and can continue making 3DS with no future lawsuits. Nothing changes.

Femto513
Femto513

Nintendo can't seem to catch a break.

Wolflink001
Wolflink001

Pffft... Big deal. Nintendo is STILL the king.

Sefrix
Sefrix

 Chump change for a giant corporation. That being said, lucky guy!

tightwad34
tightwad34

So I assume they are going to continue to use this same tech to develop more 3DSes. It doesn't really make sense to me if they are allowed to, but at the same time I don't really care as long as more people will be able to get their hands on it.

soulless4now
soulless4now

He never has to bother working again with that money. I envy him. 

hadlee73
hadlee73

Damn. I knew I should have patented the idea of shrubberies.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Whoah, Sony finally WON a patent lawsuit?  Amazing.

alrepairs
alrepairs

That is why I work for a private company.


So patent's aren't all gun hoe up our asses.  This "Sue Season" didn't exist in the 90's.

pizzamuncher
pizzamuncher

I know they probably won't, but Nintendo should appeal. They get their 3D tech from Sharp, so even if the tech is his, which I doubt, Nintendo is not liable in any way. And Sony has nothing to do with this.

Takeno456
Takeno456

Man Nintendo gets a new patent law suit thrown at them like every month. The patent money train had been going off the rails lately with all these different tech companies throwing lawsuits around at each other.

sune_Gem
sune_Gem

And now he's a multi-millionaire. I need to come up with an idea, and have it stolen, quick!

Flint247
Flint247

This isn't too much trouble for Nintendo. Just pay the money and move on.

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

Stop mentioning he is a former Sony employee, it has been years, it is bloody irrelevant and has nothing to do with Sony.

Only the guy himself.

blaznwiipspman1
blaznwiipspman1

ironic, it should be nintendo suing sony for ripping off rumble, analogue sticks,the wii mote, the new wii u pad, pretty much every idea that comes out gets ripped off by sony.

emptycow
emptycow

"The jury's verdict will not impact Nintendo's continued sales in the United States " MORE LIKE NINTENDOS LACK OF SALES IN THE  U.S 

debryson
debryson

@gearfreak117 You would willingly allow people to steal from you? I see. Can i come over your house to play games?

AlexFili
AlexFili

@Microsteve I think you'll find that virtually every major company gets sued eventually. Samsung, Sony, Microsoft. Whether it's plain 'ripping off' or just doing what the consumer wants is up for debate

lunarsword
lunarsword

@tightwad34 the compensation is to cover any past/future "losses" the guy had over Nintendo using the tech.  Now that he gets that, Nintendo is cleared to keep using the tech with no more questions asked.  It's like they just paid $30 million to pay for the patent AFTER making use of it. 

lunarsword
lunarsword

@soulless4now considering most of it goes to the legal expenses...i highly doubt that.  the rest of it will be used up over the course of, perhaps, 10 years

aquaglow
aquaglow

@pizzamuncher That's not how patents work. You can invent the same concept completely independently and still be sued because someone else was first to file the patent. (provided your technology operates in the same way)

FlameBoyBen
FlameBoyBen

@WolfGrey I agree.

But one could reasonably argue that since the meeting took place in 2003, he could have been directed by Sony. I think that's a fair point

 Honestly its not really relevant if sony was part of it or not, just that nintendo was found to have violated that patent.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

@WolfGrey It doesn't help much that the "journalist" put Sony's name up top... They knew what they were doing though mentioning he was a Sony employee years back gets more attention. 

Ateas
Ateas

@blaznwiipspman1 Complete reading comprehension fail. The guy suing used to work for Sony. USED TO. He doesn't anymore and this wasn't Sony's lawsuit.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

@blaznwiipspman1 The ignorance is strong in this one.  The first instance of force feedback in gaming was a motorcycle arcade game from 1976(by Sega in fact).  Analogue sticks were first used for gaming in 1976.  The Wiimote has been around as long as TV remotes have been around.  Motion controls in general were around as far back as the early 90s.  The Wii U pad... what part of it?  The touch screen?  Touch screens were another innovation of the 70s.

None of this stuff belongs to Nintendo.  You -can- credit Nintendo for popularizing some of the technology for gaming use(namely the Wiimote/motion sensing stuff) but that doesn't put Nintendo in a position to sue anyone.

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

@blaznwiipspman1 I would agree if it wasn't for the fact Sony does it better every dam time.

Not being a fanboy, just true in general.

mario113
mario113

@emptycow I have no Idea how you did it but you managed to make  a mario game so unappealing that I won't even touch itwith a fifty foot pole! and mario belongs on a nintendo console sony and microsoft would ruin them just like rare.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

@emptycow It's mindblowing how unappealing that looks.  It's like the Super Mario Bros. movie... this franchise is really meant for a more cartoony, colorful style. 

TQ_NintyNoE
TQ_NintyNoE

@emptycow LOL. I love how you've produced a video nothing to do with the technology of the PS4 and touted it as being as such. The Wii U can handle these graphics, the video of which mostly incorporates filters and special effects to make it look better when a lot of the models are low polygon. Granted the textures are high but it's not a videogame.

As long as it plays better than this looks, the next Mario on Wii U will be fantastic.

mario113
mario113

@emptycow Yeah becuase 30 million units is bad compared to how much the vita sold?

ZeroCrash16
ZeroCrash16

@debryson Ideas aren't stolen; the are used and built upon. Preventing others from using ideas is like stealing it from the rest of the world. It would be much better if companies competed by making better products than hogging "intellectual property". Trademarks are important; without branding we wouldn't know if we're buying from the company we trust, but patents are not. They hinder innovation, as ironic as it is.

To put it in context, it would not be like he's stealing your games. It would be like he's trying to make games, because he thinks he could do it really well, and you're telling him he can't because he's making platform games, and that's your idea. Now you can make crappy games and hinder development in the platform game market, because your the only company allowed to sell them.


That's how it *actually* works.

blaznwiipspman1
blaznwiipspman1

@jinzo9988 you could say the same about this "3d" patent.  Fact is its been around since the 70's but nintendo still got sued for it.  And if all those features were popular and obvious in gaming, why didnt sony think of it first?

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

@WolfGrey  

Sony fails every time they try to be like Nintendo.

SSBB>Playstation Brawl

Wii>Move

MarioKart>Little Big Planet Kart Racing.

alrepairs
alrepairs

@hatieshorrer @WolfGrey Sony does kinda need to stop that.


They shine best when they aren't coping off others.


Uncharted, Last of Us, God of War are amazing...and they copy off no one.

DiamondDM13
DiamondDM13

@hatieshorrer @WolfGrey I care little for those games so I can't comment on those, never played them. But Wii>Move? Have you actually used them? Clearly you haven't...