Earlier this week, Nintendo emerged victorious in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals as part of a patent dispute involving the Wii and GameCube controllers. However, the publisher is already having another of its patents challenged; this time ones associated with its tent-pole release in the highly lucrative fitness genre.
On April 2, IA Labs filed suit against Nintendo in the United States District Court of Maryland. The suit claims that Nintendo has willfully infringed upon IA Labs patents with Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus, and the Wii Balance Board, as well as the Wii Remote, Wii Nunchuk, Wii MotionPlus, Wii Wheel, and Wii Zapper. The company acquired the aforementioned patents in 2009 from Interaction Labs.
IA Labs claims that Nintendo's products violate its US Patent No. 7,121,982, issued on October 17, 2006, for "Computer Interactive Isometric Exercise System and Method for Operatively Interconnecting the Exercise System to a Computer System for use as a Peripheral," and US Patent No. 7,331,226, issued on February 19, 2008, for "Force Measurement System for an Isometric Exercise Device."
The fitness-technology company claims that the patents have been used in a number of products in the past. As detailed in the filing, Interaction Labs released the Kilowatt Sport and Exer-Station, both of which add a workout element to "any off-the-shelf video game on the PlayStation, Xbox, GameCube, or PC." IA Labs notes that both products picked up Innovation of the Year awards at the Consumer Electronics Show, in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
The suit also notes that then-Interaction Labs president and current IA Labs chief technology officer Greg Merril contacted Nintendo on a number of occasions in 2007 and 2008, through personal meetings and via e-mail. However, Merril's attempt to enter into a licensing agreement with Nintendo ultimately resulted in the publisher ceasing contact in late 2008.
IA Labs is seeking to have the court prevent the sale of all products that infringe upon its products, as well as damages, attorney fees, and other court costs.