"Wii-mote" trigger prompts lawsuit

User-interface specialist Interlink cries foul, files patent infringement lawsuit against Nintendo of America.

While most in the game industry view the Wii's unconventionally shaped controller as something unique, there's one company that has a different view of the device.

Interlink Electronics, Inc., a California company that specializes in the design and manufacturing of interface devices, on Monday filed a complaint against Nintendo's US subsidiary, Nintendo of America, accusing it of patent infringement. Interlink's products include devices to assist in PowerPoint presentations, conference room keyboards, and portable speakers.

Interlink filed its complaint, first reported by Kotaku, in US District Court in Delaware.

The complaint alleges that the trigger on the bottom of the Wii controller infringes on Interlink Patent No. 6,850,221 (Trigger Operated Electronic Device), which the company secured on February 1, 2005. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata first presented the Wii controller to the public not too long after that date, during the 2005 Tokyo Game Show.

The drawings (above) that accompanied the patent application--first filed on September 17, 1997--do look suspiciously similar to the Wii trigger, but in the filing, Interlink offers scant detail of exactly how Nintendo currently infringes on the '221 patent, stating only that "Nintendo has made, used, offered for sale and sold in the United States, and continues to make, use, offer for sale and sell in the United States one or more controllers which activities infringe, induce others to infringe, and/or contributorily infringe the '221 patent."

The complaint seeks a jury trial and damages to determine the amount of "loss of reasonable royalties, reduced sales and/or lost profits as a result of the infringing activities."

This lawsuit brought by Interlink recalls the legal wrangling Microsoft and Sony found themselves in when Immersion Corp. brought lawsuits against those two console giants. Back in 2003, Immersion hauled those console makers into court, alleging patent infringement of Immersion's "haptic" technology, which allows gamers to feel controllers vibrate as they react to onscreen action. Microsoft eventually settled with Immersion, while Sony went to the mat, suffering defeat at the bench and paying Immersion Corp. more that $80 million in damages.

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575 comments
nightwheel
nightwheel

Quote: N00bl3t15 hahahahaha nintendo sucks i hope they have to pay whatever company that is a crapload of money. End Quote. Go buy a wii and u will see that sony and microsoft sucks not nintendo N00bl3t15. Goof head

nightwheel
nightwheel

everbody is afried of the wiimote because it's the best thing since the D pad

ninga59
ninga59

i heard they drop'd the suit

cwgr8621
cwgr8621

why aren't there any updates on this?

mitchykiz
mitchykiz

Microsoft and Sony will do anything to eliminate such a huge and powerful competitor like Nintendo. ATTENTION SEEKERS!!!

jarrodt
jarrodt

Someones always looking for more reasons to get more money

miiwii
miiwii

The U.S. District Court for Central California has ruled in favor of InControl Solutions Inc. of Lake Oswego on all counts in a patent infringement suit brought by InterLink Electronics Inc. of Camarillo, Calif. InterLink alleged in a suit filed in July that InControl's so-called Button Mouse product infringed on two of the California company's patents. The product is a miniature joystick used on laptop computers. The suit also alleged that InControl's MediaPoint remote point device infringed on three InterLink patents------this is all that interstink does so nothing to worry about cos they will lose again over the SAME patent.

pie_guy
pie_guy

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Zer0mancer
Zer0mancer

Seems like there are no new ideas anymore just rehashing old ones people have forgotten about.

mhder
mhder

I think Interlink just made a lot of enemies by doing this. If i see anything Interlink, I'm looking the other way. Going after an "Icon," good way to piss off a lot of fans.

gtimandan
gtimandan

My bad - I said "Immersion" when I actually meant "Interlink".

gtimandan
gtimandan

This won't float in the court - and for the exact reason they cite, which is this: **The complaint seeks a jury trial and damages to determine the amount of "loss of reasonable royalties, reduced sales and/or lost profits as a result of the infringing activities."** Nintendo's controller no more causes a loss of profits or reduced sales of Immersion's pointing devices than does a paintball gun cause a loss of profits and reduced sales of hunting rifles; although similar in design, they are used for totally different purposes and are not interchangeable. My predicted outcome: Immersion is ordered to pay all court fees for Nintendo. Case dismissed.

especensor
especensor

its a simple "z" trigger like on the N64. its the same basic mechanism. the money seeking bastards of companies are going over top these days.

jojoforpres
jojoforpres

This is going to be settled out of court. Just wait, Nintendo will pay Interlink, and this whole thing will be another page in video game history.

raze-boi
raze-boi

TaketaTamui said: Nintendo will be able to draw conclusive lines that show that they have kept design elements from older inventions and simply put them into the wii remote, along with newer technology. Nintendo had already employed trigger mechanics in the Zapper Gun for the NES and the Z-Trigger in the N64 controller. In fact, there were ideas of an extension to the N64 controller where you plugged an IR sensor in place of the memory/rumble pack slot to where the controller would become a light gun. Which is again your basic point and click functionality. I agree! Furthermore, that kind of remote is simple and Interlink thinks that only them can imagine that kind remote!

9344891
9344891

N00bl3t15 what the hell i asume you like games why would you want a none gaming company get sued by a company that just sues people.That company sucks and it looks similar but not the same as the wii controler they have no case .

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

The diagram looks nothing like a Wii controller at all. What a waste of valuable court time. I wonder how long it will be before Microsoft launches a lawsuit against Sony for copying their trigger buttons. After reading this, I certainly would be thinking about it. EDIT: I think Nintendo should countersue. The company bringing about this lawsuit would have seen the design of the Wii controller at E3 2005, which means they have had well over a year to inform Nintendo of any patent breach. Instead the company decided to keep quiet and sue upon launch of the Wii, which sure sounds like they're trying to cash-in to me, which would contradict their claims that Nintendo has caused them losses..case closed!

Dreski83
Dreski83

I blame Sony for this...

dragonfoxmem
dragonfoxmem

No way that Nintendo infringing the trigger button. Nintendo began using the trigger button in Nintendo 64 in 1995, 2 years before Interlink applied for the patent. The technology may be similar, but I don't think that Nintendo is copying Interlink. BTW, hard to believe that Immersion Corp did not sue Nintendo for the rumble feature.

boblighte
boblighte

You can patent having a button on the bottom of a remote? Wow. I agree with Primenova, I don't see how Interlink could prove the Wii-mote caused them to lost money. As far as I know, the Wii doesn't support PowerPoint.

Primenova
Primenova

I fail to see how they can possibly prove loss of sales or royalties on this. It IS possible Nintendo knew of such devices. They said repeatedly that the 'revolution' in the Wii was old tech used in a different scenario than its previous way. Its introduction shortly after the patent was secured points to a strong chance that the two devices having a similarity is coincidental. Plus, this technology wasn't new when it was first done by Interlink, back in 1997. There is a chance also that Nintendo is infringing, but not knowingly so. If that is what the court decides, Nintendo wouldn't owe back royalties, but would have to make changes to the Wiimote, issue a recall, and pay royalties for whatever has currently be sold, or just license/buy the tech outright. It will still end up being far less than what happened with Sony when the company lied about using Immersion's haptic feedback for the Dualshock.

LordBraz
LordBraz

OK, so I'm gonna apply for a patent on a device that features two trigger buttons, then hope some company comes out with a vaguely similar device so I can sue.

Migaru
Migaru

Honestly, I don't see any resemblence of the Wii's trigger in those pictures, and I'm not saying that just because I like Nintendo

N00bl3t15
N00bl3t15

hahahahaha nintendo sucks i hope they have to pay whatever company that is a crapload of money

Quezakolt
Quezakolt

the trigger... huh huh sounds like bs to me

Vash67
Vash67

Nintendo = OWNED. =

TaketaKamui
TaketaKamui

Nintendo will be able to draw conclusive lines that show that they have kept design elements from older inventions and simply put them into the wii remote, along with newer technology. Nintendo had already employed trigger mechanics in the Zapper Gun for the NES and the Z-Trigger in the N64 controller. In fact, there were ideas of an extension to the N64 controller where you plugged an IR sensor in place of the memory/rumble pack slot to where the controller would become a light gun. Which is again your basic point and click functionality.

sasuke55
sasuke55

This ain't nothing really. Nintendo will either win or settle. It won't affect the Wii though. And another thing if it was infringing why not put out a suit to keep them from realesing the system?? Or atleast the wiimote.

Tenchi_sonic
Tenchi_sonic

Are they stupid...? supposadly September 17, 1997 is when interlink filed there work, yet nintendo's Z-Trigger, started on the N64, a year earlier meaning if anyone stole a BUTTON, it was Interlink

sacatash
sacatash

this is laughable. nintendo alway do their homework before they present a new product to the market. they have their own department regarding patents in research and development for heaven's sake. that is the reason they did not get sued for their rumble technology on the n64 and gamecube compared sony and microsoft. If nintendo loses, they will just settle the matter just like what microsoft does. believe me, hell will freeze before the Wii console is taken off the market. Can you imagine what will video gamers will do to Interlink? If you think the PS3 fiasco was horrible, imagine taking a product of the market from millions of crazed, starved families will do.

capthunt
capthunt

WTF!! Just the lil trigger area is a copyright infringement. They are full of bull.

dickio3
dickio3

Wtf? I could have swore a little console called the N64 had a trigger on it's controller. Stupid fraudulent claims.

marioman50
marioman50

I've never heard of interlink, what does that tell you?

miiwii
miiwii

nintendo could redesign the controller and put the b button bellow the a button or diagonaily to the a like the snes. couldint they?

miiwii
miiwii

Straight from interlink website-reporting loses on the remote long before wimote was sold. so yeh the have lost sales due to the wimote LOL. it reads like this--------Revenue in the second quarter of 2006 was also $8.5 million, down from $10.3 million in the comparable 2005 quarter and down slightly from the 2006 fi rst quarter. The declines in revenue refl ect the results of the previously announced restructuring of our OEM remote business and our de-emphasis of the less profi table presentation projector remote control business. This shift towards higher margin businesses resulted in a 27% decline on our OEM remote business the fi rst six months this year. However, as previously indicated, we expect to see revenue from our other business segments remain strong and thus result in revenue and earnings improvements beginning in Q3 of this year.”

h4xx0rz
h4xx0rz

Everything that Nintendo uses is made by its own patent office anyway... The patent infringment of the "rumble pack" case seems almost exactly the same as this one, and Nintendo said they had their own patent already.

Gamertag-TFTW
Gamertag-TFTW

Nintendo is about to lose. You can put any images (i.e. Business Data) onto the Wii and run them like a slideshow.

ChucklesMginty
ChucklesMginty

well I've already got my Wii so if they're taken off the market I can show it off to everyone and then make a fortune on ebay.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Surprisingly Nintendo seems to do well when in court. They win more law cases then lose. My guess is Nintendo will win this case of copyright infiringement.

wingchunstudent
wingchunstudent

Everyone wants their piece of Nintendo. They finally start to come out of the slumps and something like this rears its ugly head. *sigh*

cjcr_alexandru
cjcr_alexandru

Some companies seem to like lawsuits. This doesn't means that Interlink is telling lies. Maybe it isn't. Or maybe it is...

none17256375947
none17256375947

Nintendo can bring some peace with this "console War" going on with Sony, M$, and Nintendo. they should make an addition to Wii sports boxing, where the opponent has "Interlink" tattooed on his face and just stands there. I'm sure M$, Sony and Nintendo would love to beat the *&^% out of that guy, even if it's only virtual

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

PLZ. then interlink stole the trigger design from the N64 controller. what a bunch of fools trying to make a quick buck. hopefully it cost interlink a loss of the case and millions in the end to teach them this simple lesson: power point presentation devices =/= video game controller. WHAT a NOOB company.

V_Zarnold_N
V_Zarnold_N

man i hate people who do stupid stuff like this. do they really think that nintendo spied on them, said wow thats really neat, and then said lets put this into our new controller. why dont they just stick to doing what they are doing and forget about trying to suck the gaming industries money away.

juancorazon
juancorazon

This is the kind of things that let you know, even a good law system has its flaws, lawsuits of this kind damage a lot of people for the convenience of 1 opportunist company. Nintendo should make it out of this, why can't anyone accept that the video gaming industry is a huge success. Instead of trying to take money away from it.

starcutter20000
starcutter20000

what I don't get is the N64 had a trigger device way before that patent so I think Nintendo has a case considering that. How can the Wii remote cause a company making remotes specialized for presentations to lose sales it makes no sense.

drunk3nrabbit
drunk3nrabbit

The jury is probably going to see through the BS and let nintendo off, unless there are some Sony and/or anti-nintendo microsoft fanboys there