Nintendo, Sony face new patent suit

Wii and PS3 manufacturers taken to court by Pennsylvania man over wireless controller technology.

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Ever since Immersion Corporation won its lawsuit against Sony over the rumble technology in PlayStation and PlayStation 2 DualShock controllers (and eventually forced nearly $100 million in damages and interest from the electronics giant), patent litigation has been a subject of keen interest in the gaming industry.

One of numerous figures from the patent.

The latest dispute comes from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, where Copper Innovations Group late last month filed suit against Nintendo and Sony for a patent it holds on a "Hand Held Computer Input Apparatus and Method."

The patent--which was filed in January of 1996--covers a method for connecting devices to a system and sorting their inputs by means of hardware identification numbers tied to each transmission. According to the suit, Nintendo and Sony are violating the Copper Innovations Group's patent by making and selling their systems and controllers. The Wii Remote, Wii Nunchuk, Sixaxis controller, and Blu-ray Remote Control are all named in the suit as infringing products.

Copper Innovations Group is seeking damages plus interest, legal fees, and an injunction permanently prohibiting Sony, Nintendo, or their agents from infringing upon the patent. An attorney for Copper declined to comment on the case (or the omission of Microsoft as a defendant) for GameSpot, while Sony and Nintendo representatives did not return requests for comment.

Discussion

589 comments
Mohabdeep
Mohabdeep

CIG's problem seems to be with Bluetooth technology as a whole and not with Nintendo or Sony, as all products that use Bluetooth connect to a system and sort their inputs by hardware identification numbers, It's not Nintendo or Sony's fault if the Bluetooth technology, which they pay royalties for, infringed upon Copper's patent.

jimbo102671
jimbo102671

This lawsuit is just one more reason why I despise our civil court system. It seems to be just a way to make easy money anymore, given some crazy cases that actually went to trial AND WON! However, my guess is that this will be settled for "undisclosed amounts" and we won't hear of this specific case again.

gamecubepad
gamecubepad

@Ironwulfen, I was unable to locate a patent for the Sixaxis, and haven't had a chance to tinker with one much as I have the Wiimote. A patent doesn't have to be 100% infringed upon to cause a product to be in violation. I'd like the source of your knowledge that the PS3 controller and Blu-ray remote use a "variable, non-hardware encoded identifier" and also how exactly you are able to change the hardware ID number from the PS3. Any source for this info would be very helpful in understanding this case.

Ironwulfen
Ironwulfen

gamecubepad What anjul says is true. Also follow BlkCamaro95's link. It would seem that this has nothing to do with motion controls or Bluetooth, since the patent was filed two years before Bluetooth's conception. After reading the patent, this seems to be the beef, "Transmitter function sequence begins when the initiation switch is actuated. As will appear from the description of the transmitter function and control, the logic and software utilized in this invention are unique and novel. The logic and software are designed to respond to probable intent of the user..." -and mainly- "Every transmitter unit has a unique hardware encoded identifying number. When power is first applied to the transmitter, for example when the batteries are first inserted, the identifying number is read and stored in RAM in the transmitter. All subsequent communications sent from that transmitter will contain that identifier. This affords a means for identifying the source of communication...[and] rejecting data sent from a transmitter not intended to be in communication with a computer..." All flaming of CIG should cease as this guy has a serious point. Although it only seems logical that wireless devices would have an identifier, this guy thought of it and patented it back in 1996. Pay the man. Just my $2 judgement. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- There's just one thing here... the patent describes that each device would have a unique hardware encoded identifying number and that "All subsequent communications sent from that transmitter will contain that identifier". What Sony has is a piece of hardware which has a variable, non-hardware encoded identifier which can change its indentifier at the whim of the user, using the device with the intended hardware and software (the PS3). So basically, they're not infringing the copyright =/

pikachu01
pikachu01

Microsoft isn't being sued because they are using wireless technology that they made and have already patented unlike nintendo and sony. That's part of the reason why the guitar hero II guitar for the 360 is wired, the company didn't want to pay MS royalties for using their wireless tech.

fritigoerd
fritigoerd

???? Is it not suppossed to be exactly the same as the original blueprints , when a patent is copyed?If not , then is not the same is it? Then Mercedez could sue all the car companies trhough history for making cars after them?

lamprey263
lamprey263

well, maybe Microsoft is being sued too, this article doesn't really say, but maybe their lawyers already settled this one early and cheap like they did with Immersion, or maybe Copper Innovations Goup is scared to engage Microsoft after Microsoft settled their suit with Immersion, negotiated contracts, then Microsoft sued Immersion for breach of contract

mustained13
mustained13

I have a lawsuit pending on the Flux Capacitor I developed.

Autolycus
Autolycus

R3DN1N3 --- agreed man, thats going a bit far. Everyone knows Sony's is by far the dirtiest player on the planet and nintendo believes in, "bring what you got" politics. MS usually stays the middle of everything, but is clearly doing the best for this generation (thus far) despite what SONY quotes and "shipped" (to warehouses)

R3DN1N3
R3DN1N3

smokeymacpot45 Do you guys know what this is? This is microsoft bull**** happening right now. Microsoft basically knows sooner or later they might lose so they trying to make playstation and nintendo to lose money so they can win or still live longer. I see a scandal with microsoft right now and I hope they get caught in their lies and bull and so they lose money. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Are u smoking crack or what?! Read what u just typed. I'm sorry but how is anybody this stupid allowed to live?! Your accusing Microsoft of using "dirty tactics" because supposedly they're trying not to lose this generation? Microsoft is doing really well all by itself. They had a good last year, they have the best game library at this point so far and some good games are still coming this year as well. Where are u getting your facts? I can't believe your gonna have kids one day.....

TheOneRing
TheOneRing

fattyxboxbutt Im pretty sure MS isnt named because they dont have a motion sensing controller, unless of course its a CONSPIRACY!!! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ This isn't about motion sensing, it's about wireless control connectivity. Thanks for playing.

Autolycus
Autolycus

so if i patent a device for free energy (aka hydrogen produced from water/electrolysis) nobody could ever do that in the future? Lame, how about the copyright department be shutdown for not helping, but hurting just about every single industry.

fattyxboxbutt
fattyxboxbutt

Im pretty sure MS isnt named because they dont have a motion sensing controller, unless of course its a CONSPIRACY!!!

redxwarriorxxx
redxwarriorxxx

The new way of making money. File a patent on a device you never make, hope some else makes it work and sue them for infringing on your patent. Reward the lazy man.

Delongman
Delongman

1996? 12 years later? mONEy money money... is so funny

flamingboard
flamingboard

wow, some of these comments make me lose even more of my faith in humanity. they are suing because nintendo and sony are using technology that they developed and patented a long time ago. even if it is a fairly obvious idea they were the first to patent it and therefore they should get credit where it is due. being a sony and nintendo fanboy doesn't make you a patent litigation lawyer. i say let them duke it out in court. if its found they they are infringing then they should pay royalties to CIG. if its found out that CIG is just patent camping then it should be thrown out. whining about it on here just makes you look ignorant and noobish.

Rhetorix
Rhetorix

I understand that this seems like a trivial argument, but think about it, if you invented an awesome flavor of ice cream and then Ben and Jerry's steals your recipe, you would want to get credit and get paid for it. That's a stupid example... but these kinds of cases need to be pursued or else there would be no point to patents in the first place. I'm for CIG.

gamecubepad
gamecubepad

What anjul says is true. Also follow BlkCamaro95's link. It would seem that this has nothing to do with motion controls or Bluetooth, since the patent was filed two years before Bluetooth's conception. After reading the patent, this seems to be the beef, "Transmitter function sequence begins when the initiation switch is actuated. As will appear from the description of the transmitter function and control, the logic and software utilized in this invention are unique and novel. The logic and software are designed to respond to probable intent of the user..." -and mainly- "Every transmitter unit has a unique hardware encoded identifying number. When power is first applied to the transmitter, for example when the batteries are first inserted, the identifying number is read and stored in RAM in the transmitter. All subsequent communications sent from that transmitter will contain that identifier. This affords a means for identifying the source of communication...[and] rejecting data sent from a transmitter not intended to be in communication with a computer..." All flaming of CIG should cease as this guy has a serious point. Although it only seems logical that wireless devices would have an identifier, this guy thought of it and patented it back in 1996. Pay the man. Just my $2 judgement.

DaylightX
DaylightX

Argh, yet another company trying to cash in on someone else's success. Isn't it kinda odd how it's always some American company suing the Japs (filing the case in America no less). Not surprised, as the States is a place where someone can sue for millions for falling over in a hotel lobby, that's why such stupid cases keep on popping up all over the place. I'd so laugh if Nintendo and Sony team up to counter-sue that company and shut them up for good.

TrueIori
TrueIori

To Dingle_Dootie LOL funny good one lolololol

Hell-Fire21
Hell-Fire21

Patent 1996?? Maybe I should get my dualshock 3 while I can...

starmetroid
starmetroid

I'm a little worried I mean this is total BS but people have gotten away with even stupider cases before. There was one case where a burglar broke into someone's house and accidentally hurt himself, so he sues the family and I think he actually won.

sonic_spark
sonic_spark

anjul you win just because you mentioned Back to the Future. On topic: Nintendo always covers their tracks, I doubt they violated this patent.

subrosian
subrosian

Don't bet on this getting thrown out of court, but do bet on Nintendo / Sony settling for undisclosed sums. We don't know if the technology was infringed or not, we'll see - but Nintendo, Sony, and CIG aren't stupid - they know the legal game that's being played. - It will take months, if not years, to see this resolved, so in any case, your day-to-day gaming life will be completely unaffected.

SasukevsLuffy
SasukevsLuffy

to those opposing MS MS has nothng to do with this. they use a different type of wireless wave. there. im done

anjul
anjul

I don't understand why so many of you are accusing Copper Innovations of being immoral. If they do, in fact, hold the patent for technology that Sony and Nintendo are using, then Sony and Nintendo owe them money. What's this non-sense about them not working? They are the ones who DEVELOPED the technology in question(or so it seems). If the technology in the controllers is significantly different, then Sony and Nintendo will probably be fine. Put yourself in their shoes. Let's say you watched Back to the Future, and figured out how to make a hoverboard....or you own Delorian(spelling?), then patented it. Wouldn't YOU be pissed if someone started selling what YOU made, and you got nothing? Also, don't get all pissy about the request to stop Sony/Nintendo from using the technology. This was to give weight to the case, I highly doubt the guys at CIG are so stupid that they couldn't see the potential profits of simply enforcing a royalty. Oh, and patents generally last about 20 years, so don't go saying the patent's no longer valid unless you KNOW that it was for 11 years or less. Lastly, since the article here did not state exactly what type of technology was implemented, no one who has read only this article is fit to judge who should win. Even if it did give that information, that's for the courts to decide.

b00003243
b00003243

that will be thrown out of court. I'm pretty much an xbox fanboy but from reading this I presume the its down to the protocols used. Sony used bluetooth, which i'm sure they paid to use(off ericsson?), theres no case there. Hopefully Copper innovations get some legal costs to pay for there troubles

blackie8
blackie8

lame what the heck gosh hope sony and nintendo win the case!

zombey1333
zombey1333

o.o;;; Do these big business game companies ever check their crap anymore before they put it on the market?? This is insane.

tuu-tuu
tuu-tuu

all I have to say is: that's realy gay and they shouldnt sue Sony and Nintendo because they cant do better

blarg_blarg
blarg_blarg

This is stupid. Copper Inovations one gold digging company if you ask me. They see how they themselves failed to make anything innovative out of their plans so the figure, "Hey, Sony and Nintendo are doing well, so to make ourselves feel better, lets sue their ***es!" What idiots. Things like these are prime examples of how capitalism and the ability to sue anyone for anything is corrupting our moral fabric.

kamicolo
kamicolo

More and more American patent suits keep arising. I'm sure that Nintendo and Sony is starting to rethink their distribution and sales in America.

Dingle_Dootie
Dingle_Dootie

Hey, I'm gonna sue J.K. Rowling for making a highly successful series about wizards. Why? Because when I was a kid, I imagined myself as a wizard. I know whatever "connection" that has with Rowling is dubious at best, but who cares? I wanna be rich! Thank you for inspiring me to be a sue-happy fool, Copper Innovations Group! :D

DrakonGiga
DrakonGiga

i think ms is not here for another reason. I'm not suggesting but i think this may have deeper links to the dark side of the gaming business...

OQSlStalker
OQSlStalker

Wow, this sucks! You might as well sue someone for making there own Wheelbarrow or Hat.

Mohabdeep
Mohabdeep

"a method for connecting devices to a system and sorting their inputs by means of hardware identification numbers tied to each transmission" did they just try to patent Bluetooth itself? I don't think its Nintendo or Sony's fault that that's how Bluetooth works I think the same thing will happen as when Universal Studios sued Nintendo for Donkey Kong - Universal had to pay Nintendo $3 mil for wasting Nintendo's time.

NoShenanigans
NoShenanigans

Don't have to worry about copyright infringement if you pay the royalties before releasing a product, perhaps that is why you don't see MS on here, they already paid the patent off while develeping. Windows has to pay royalties for patents every year, so I'm sure MS knows how stuff like this goes.

ThePhilosopher
ThePhilosopher

why isnt microsoft involved...their ring of identification is the same thing as the wii and ps3 l.e.d identifiers

kaim_i
kaim_i

dont they only get 10 years for the patent? so the patent ended in january of 2006? why didn't they sue sony when it came out with the dvd remote control for the ps2? and y wait not? maybe they want money. i don't like this copper guy, sound likes he is from the medievil ages lol!

cocomacoco
cocomacoco

these is a nowhere path for the suit, is like throwing chesse to lions faces.

DJSMITH007
DJSMITH007

Wow, just STFU about stupid patents...

rexCo
rexCo

Pretty much, best post ever kingtrewq I don't like these Copper guys. And if all they cared about was helping out thei life or invention, he wouldn't want to ruin it for everybody and disallow Nintendo/Sony from ever using it again, he'd just ask for some millions and be done with it.

kingtrewq
kingtrewq

someone should buy out this little company and fire everyone

ketchupclaw
ketchupclaw

I get annoyed when I hear about lawsuits against companies I support, but you have to think about it from the inventor's point of view. He quite possibly has a life, a mortgage, kids, payments to make, and upon learning that his invention was ripped from him and is being pumped into Nintendo and Sony's cash crops, then, well, he, as would I, be ready to snap. I think that the damages he's seeking are a little over his head, but if you want to be taken seriously by these giants, you have to raise the stakes. Shame on Sony and Nintendo, there's not much of an excuse for this.

Shmoe82
Shmoe82

So, if this wins we would play games how? I hope Copper innovations goes belly up for being such an a$$. If Nin and Sony win, Copper should have to pay for all Nin and Sony's legal fees and pay for all us players to have three more free controllers with every system purchase oh, and our sales tax on said purchase.

Nawras
Nawras

enough of this bee es already! the US law system is too perfect it is flawed

norton88
norton88

I'll make this clear for all those 'tards out there (and from looking at the comments there's a lot of them). The Wii and PS3 controllers use bluetooth technology compared to the 360 controllers which use radio-waves, in other words: The Copper Innovations Group's patent only covers their technology which uses bluetooth and therefore is being infringed on (whether by accident or not) by both Nintendo and Sony. I would just like to say also that i own both a Wii and 360, and as soon as the right deal comes along, a PS3, so i am pretty much non-biased, unlike some of those obviously Sony-brainwashed propaganda machines out there.

BulletBrigade
BulletBrigade

Haha... I give this one afternoon. A judge is going to throw this case out soooooo fast.