It's not uncommon for gaming companies to see their latest technological innovations made into the subject of lawsuits. The motion-sensing Wii Remote, weight-sensing Balance Board, rumbling controllers, and PlayStation 3 Blu-ray format were all the subject of patent suits, and now the 3DS's glasses-free stereoscopic 3D screen can be added to the list.
As spotted by Patent Arcade, Japanese corporation Tomita Technologies last month filed suit against Nintendo in the Southern District of New York, alleging that the 3DS infringed on a patent it holds for a "Stereoscopic Image Picking Up and Display System Based Upon Optical Axes Cross-Point Information." Tomita's patent was filed in March of 2003, with the inventor listed as Seijiro Tomita.
The patent specifically notes that it could be used for a device that required no specific glasses, and it details how it could alternate between images directed at the left and right eyes independently, "so that the merged image can be viewed as a stereoscopic image by the three-dimensional perception based upon so-called binocular parallax."
According to the suit, Tomita was a Sony employee for nearly three decades before leaving in 2002 to work on fields of his own interest. It also notes that Tomita's patent has been licensed by other parties due to its "importance and uniqueness."
Tomita is asking the court to enjoin Nintendo from infringing on the patent, as well as damages and attorneys' fees. As of press time, Nintendo had not responded to a request for comment.