In developing its 3DS portable console, Nintendo infringed on a glasses-free 3D patent owned by a former Sony employee. That's according to a New York federal jury, which earlier today hit Nintendo with $30.2 million in damages. The patent in question granted in 2008 pertains to viewing 3D content without a need for specialized glasses, which is a major selling point of the 3DS. Seijiro Tomita (who spent 30 years at Sony according to the court complaint) sued Nintendo in 2011 for infringing on his invention, claiming that he'd met with the gaming manufacturer in 2003 to discuss the technology. In its defense, Nintendo's attorney argued that Tomita was just one of several 3D purveyors it was in contact with at the time and that the 3D implementation in the portable device avoided key aspects of his patent.
Ultimately the jury sided with Tomita and awarded him the compensatory damages. $30.2 million isn't exactly going to bankrupt Nintendo, and the case is unlikely to have any long-term consequences, but it's still an embarrassing legal defeat for the gaming industry giant.
It is fairly amusing that the claim comes from a former Sony employee, but either way, this won't really affect Nintendo in the long run. Thoughts, System Wars?