Nintendo weighed down by Wii Fit patent suit

IA Labs sues publisher over infringing technologies also seen in CES Innovation Award-winning Kilowatt Sport, Exer-Station.

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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.

The Wii Balance Board is an "Accused Product."

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.

Discussion

134 comments
sonicking2004
sonicking2004

Okay, let's try & think about this logically: IF IA's claims are true, then Nintendo would have to be one of the most unethical companies in the universe & deserves to burn in the seventh circle of Hell. Ha! As if! For one thing, the Wii Wheel & Wii Zapper have NOTHING to do with fitness or their product (which I've never heard of), and thus has nothing to do with infringement with whatever patents they may have. Secondly, IF their story of Nintendo using their designs left from their (likely non-existent) attempted sales pitches, why then did they wait until now to file suit? Why not when the Wii first launched, or when the first Wii Fit came out? No, this is just another sad case of a company who, failing to make hardly any money with their product, decides to make their fortune by claiming another company stole their designs. And remember folks: the keywords here are "wilfully infringed", which is not the same as "shares some similarities".

steveguttenberg
steveguttenberg

Wow. According to so many comments Nintendo is the only altruistic company in existence, only interested in making people happy. And of course all lawsuits are evil. Of course.

lamprey263
lamprey263

Glad GS provided the patent number, I like reading about the claims and seeing if the original patent holds up to that claim.

Quezakolt
Quezakolt

ok will this ever stop, that's enough now. i'm tired of them acting like little b***. court should not be bogged down by that crap, instead how about bringing all the vatican and other rapists into prison, thank you very much.

selbie
selbie

This is stupid. They are only suing because they got their greedy mits on new patents and probably thought they could find someone to sue for infringement. Oh Look! A multi-billion dollar gaming giant! Bring out the lawyers!

Seiki_sands
Seiki_sands

Nintendo's 1988 Power Pad, originally marketed as Family Fun Fitness by Bandai before Nintendo bought the rights, says hello?

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

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SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

This is crap., I mean what is the world coming too.. Stupid companies trying to get money buy sueing Nintendo for something that has not been sued befored. I mean all Nintendo is trying to do is give people entertainment and fun yet companies out there just wanna make cheap money and stop peoples fun after they see another companies wealth.

wyan_
wyan_

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teknic1200
teknic1200

you don't need to work hard to succeed in this world, you just need a good lawyer.

leeko_link
leeko_link

When one lawsuit ends, another begins. Guess this is what happen when you make a fortune out of products you innovate similar to stuff owned by patent trolls who simply does nothing with it. Nintendo already killed off the earlier patent trollers, it would be a matter of time before IA joins that list.

Flint247
Flint247

Leave Nintendo alone!!!!!!

BasilVZero
BasilVZero

Still having disputes? Jeez why are 3rd party companies trying to make money off of the bigger companies =_=

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

I'm glad Nintendo is going to go to court first. Now Sony and MS will learn how to defend themselves after the Big N gets another win.

kurtven
kurtven

I'm tired of reading of all those law suits. They must be jealous, because Nintendo know how to make money on the technology, and they don't!

MasterLink31
MasterLink31

Righto! So if the two companies last talk about it in 2008, then why did it take them two years to file a lawsuit against Nintendo?

cronos603
cronos603

i don't really see how any of those(excluding wii fit) have anything to do with "exercise" outside of promoting it. last time I checked they were used as controllers, even the balance board(rayman, punch-out). Seems like a very weak case.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Why now? Why not back in early 2008 when it was actually released? IA labs - "Wow look, that product is successful. I know! Let's sue the company because our product has some slight resemblence to it and that company must have snuck into our place and stolen our idea!" Morons.

leeko_link
leeko_link

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

monson21502
monson21502

we gamers should sue nintendo for making the worst console ever. ..oh wait, they just sold almost double what second place 360 sold this month again:shock: they forced ms and sony to make motion controls:cry: ooooo the pain and suffering:!:

okassar
okassar

I wonder if it's even possible to check to see if what you think you made is completely original when compared to the probably millions of patents out there.

pengo93
pengo93

The big giant Nintendo will win, they've been getting away with piles of crap for years, although Wii fit has a better ring to it than "Computer Interactive Isometric Exercise and Method for Operatively Interconnecting the Exercise System to a Computer System for use as a Peripheral".

glennvolio
glennvolio

@kosmosfreak2 Finally a voice of logic on these boards. I'd give your post five pluses if I could.

SGB0088
SGB0088

its all about the money

mhder
mhder

I've said this about every patent lawsuit against Nintendo, Sony, MS, or any other company ~ they should have some working model to be able to sue. I'm sorry but a scribbled drawing with a description doesn't do it for me. This company does seem to have something more tangible but can I just patent something as vague as peripheral used for "such and such" and get money for it later? I can see a case in the balance board but the wii-mote etc were meant as controllers which could also be used in a way to promote exercise.

sexytyrant69
sexytyrant69

Too late now Nintendo. Nintendo always do things at the last minute. If they would have pattend their controllers sooner. Sony wouldn't have ripped off the Wii Mote with that PS Move, Hopefully it's a life lesson for them to pattend all of their ideas in the near future.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

After looking at the patten (PLZ just google it) they have no claim! what they have is nothing compared to what nintendo has come out with. This is just too much. to come up with something like what they pattented and then try to extend it to cover anything related to phyical movements on a system that uses a CPU is just insane. Yes if they had anything close to what Nintendo came out with then they would have a case but its not even close

ausgamer529
ausgamer529

but nintendo has sold more of what the person who pattented it ever would

AngelCage-2
AngelCage-2

@hannify Is there no repercussions at all for sueing for no reason in america or something? ............................................................................................................. The states are NOT americe. USA is INSIDE america... not all of us consideer the word "SUE" as the response to all or our money problems. "SUE THIS, SUE THAT, I WILL SUE MY MOM" it's USA people style, not AMERICA's people style.

MC_Bally_Who
MC_Bally_Who

@alexLmx6, its all filled with volcanic ash atm anyway! lmao

HollowNinja
HollowNinja

This one looks legitimate, unlike half the other patent crap I see. Nintendo's in trouble if the justice system is fair (or if there's some unknown factor I don't know about). If they were trying to sell this technology to Nintendo before Nintendo simply went ahead with it without paying, then I hope that Nintendo has to shell out the cash, because this patent looks real. To those talking about people just randomly patenting stuff, read again. IA labs has actually used this technology that they've patented.

OmegaGear
OmegaGear

This lawsuit actually looks like it may be legit, but their patent sounds a little too "general" of an idea for it to stick, IMO. And really? The wii wheel and wii zapper? Those two items are pieces of plastic in the shape of real world objects... since when do you patent the "wheel"?

kosmosfreak2
kosmosfreak2

Some of you guys not getting this really makes me question our education system. Says pretty clearly that la labs was trying to sell the patents to nintendo then suddenly Nintendo broke communications and wow look at that the technology suddenly is already implemented. That would be the same as you having the idea for an invention and you patent the idea you try to sell it to a company and after about a year of them thinking about buying your patent and looking over your schematics and dealing suddenly they just stop answering calls and in about a year low and behold the company comes out with almost an identical copy of your product. Weather its a full copy will be left to a judge but regardless its rather unethical. And you guys that fully support Nintendo regardless are the very reason why Nintendo games have been sucking for so long. If they package a turd and sell it you will buy it and facebook how great it is.

sensesfail99
sensesfail99

Im patenting my name, anyone else with my name, regardless if its spelled different or not im suing you! I mean come on, people are so lazy these days they have to sue someone to make money? GET A JOB YOU BUMS!

S_Pac_316
S_Pac_316

Out of the pan and into the fire. What is with these companies suing Nintendo for infringement?

Flint247
Flint247

This reminds of that guy who sued everyone last year. XD

BIGMercenary
BIGMercenary

Company A: "Durrr Nintendo make good money! We sue them for some of it! Yaaaay!" Nintendo: "That's okay, we'll just go to our money-printing DS's and make more."

monson21502
monson21502

please make nintendo pay for making the worst best selling system of all time. best of luck IA Labs

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

Okay, regardless of what the patent covers, the Wii Wheel and Wii Zapper are both just pieces of plastic. They don't "force measurement" anything! Please please please do NOT settle this lawsuit Nintendo. These punks don't deserve a dime. I hope Nintendo wins and they award them lawyer fees for wasting everyone's time.

Cruse34
Cruse34

This is barely even news nintendo will win maybe they should sue them for damages or something

fluffy_kins
fluffy_kins

hahaha everyone wants a piece of Nintendo's profits! How about instead of SUE SUE SUE!!! .... you go create something innovative and make a name for yourself. Just sayin!

nevryn
nevryn

"Computer Interactive Isometric Exercise System and Method for Operatively Interconnecting the Exercise System to a Computer System for use as a Peripheral," -holy jeez, whoever came up with that name deserves to have it stolen. If they made a pure console what would they name it? "Multiple Genre Computer Interactive Recreational Modular Device with Peripheral Interconnective Input and Export Connectivity for use as a Gaming System"?

Flint247
Flint247

I might as well sue them for dumb lawsuits. :P

strife14467
strife14467

"I am going to patent the air. You dare breathe it anyone and i will sue you!" No wait you can't do that yet. You must wait until someone else makes lots of money off of it before you can do that. Only then can you claim copyright infringement. Just look at all the people trying to sue Nintendo, let them be your guide!

Land-0-Funk
Land-0-Funk

Damn..Nintendo is one cutthroat company. They at least know how to profit off other patents (alledgedly) :P