Nintendo facing new Wii patent suit

[UPDATE] Texas firm alleges that Nintendo's latest console infringes on its design for a space-saving semiconductor structure.

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The new generation of high-tech consoles has been accompanied by a new generation of patent lawsuits.

Last year, Lucent Technologies took Microsoft to court over the system's out-of-the-box MPEG-2 decoding abilities. Meanwhile, Nintendo was sued over the trigger on the motion-sensing controller for the Wii. This year has already seen Sony subject to a pair of legal actions, one regarding the physical construction of its Blu-ray discs, and another surrounding its digital encryption technology.

Of those cases, the only one resolved so far is that of Nintendo, as the plaintiff voluntarily dropped the case in March. However, the console maker's legal battles aren't behind it, as last week another company stepped forward with an all-new suit over the Wii.

According to an attorney for the plaintiff, Texas-based Lonestar Inventions alleges that the Wii infringes on a patent it holds for a "high capacitance structure in a semiconductor device." The patent in question was issued in 1993, and details a space-saving method tripling the effectiveness of parallel plate capacitors by using layers of conducting strips.

This is not the first time Lonestar has gone to court over this patent. Previous disputes with Texas Instruments and Marvell Semiconductor were eventually settled, and earlier this month, Lonestar also sued the Eastman Kodak Company alleging infringement of the patent.

[UPDATE] After a several-day silences, a Nintendo representative told GameSpot that, "Nintendo of America received no prior contact from Lonestar before they filed a lawsuit. Additionally, the lawsuit itself does not identify any product or component from Nintendo, making it impossible for Nintendo to publicly comment on this matter.

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