Nintendo Loses Wii Remote Patent Lawsuit, Ordered To Pay Out $10 Million

A jury has found that Nintendo infringed on a patent.

92 Comments

As with anything as popular as the Wii, Nintendo has faced numerous lawsuits over the years regarding its home console. One such case came to a close just this week--at least for now--with a jury ruling against Nintendo and ordering it to pay $10 million.

This particular lawsuit was first filed by the tech company iLife in Texas District Court back in 2013. It alleged that Nintendo had infringed on patents owned by iLife, claiming devices like the Wii, Wii Remote, and Wii U "contain systems or methods for body movement detection, body movement evaluation, body movement analysis, receiving body movement signals, analyzing body movement signals, responding to body movement signals, and remotely monitoring body movement signals." It was one of several such lawsuits iLife filed around that time.

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It's unclear what, exactly, iLife has used its patents for, and there were questions at the time if it was functioning as a patent troll. Despite that, the jury in the case against Nintendo has now reached a verdict, finding it did indeed infringe on one specific patent. As a result, Nintendo has been ordered to pay iLife $10.1 million--far less than the nearly $150 million iLife originally sought.

As is to be expected, Nintendo said that it plans to appeal, meaning this process is not yet at its end. "On Aug. 31, 2017, a jury in Texas found that certain Wii and Wii U video game systems and software bundles infringed a patent belonging to iLife Technologies Inc. related to detecting if a person has fallen down," Nintendo said in a statement shared with GameSpot (first reported by Glixel). "The jury awarded iLife $10 million in damages. Nintendo disagrees with the decision, as Nintendo does not infringe iLife’s patent and the patent is invalid. Nintendo looks forward to raising those issues with the district court and with the court of appeals."

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Xanitra

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Yawn.

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DigitalNoodle

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Edited By DigitalNoodle

So why has iLife not gone after Sony for the Move and MS for the Kinect?

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ButDuuude

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Edited By ButDuuude

@DigitalNoodle: The Eyetoy for the PlayStation 2 is even older than the Move, Kinect or Wiimote.

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fig56

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Edited By fig56

Careful future commenters. Wannabe lawyers and judges below. Comment at your own risk. LOL

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NovaPrime1985

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@fig56: Comment***

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fig56

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Edited By fig56

@novaprime1985: nice. Fixed.

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Latiran

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Edited By Latiran

Just because some Court ruled it doesn't mean they're right they're only human like we are. Court Judges are human like we are too and like us they can and WILL make mistakes like we do as well.

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Latiran

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@7tizz: I did read it and understand it perfectly I'm not disputing anything but that said nothing is perfect. Word of advice kiddo: don't take comment sections on game sites like this seriously.

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Thanatos2k

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"Nintendo does not infringe iLife’s patent and the patent is invalid"

Court of law just ruled otherwise, Nintendo!

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Doctor_MG

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@Thanatos2k: Which is why they are appealing it. Texas court is known to side with the plaintiff for patent infringement lawsuits anyway...even on ones that have little to no merit.

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Doctor_MG

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Edited By Doctor_MG

@7tizz: I did read the article. I wasn't trying to imply it was a conspiracy, but it is very well known that Texas is a place patent trolls go to in order to successfully sue on patent infringement claims. This is why the supreme court actually changed the law recently to prevent infringement claim plaintiffs from choosing the location of the court.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/27/business/supreme-court-patent-trolls-tc-heartland-kraft.html?mcubz=0

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-25/the-texas-town-that-patent-trolls-built-j34rlmjc

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Doctor_MG

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Edited By Doctor_MG

@7tizz: Not necessarily. Deliberation is just a fancy nomenclature for "talking it out". If the jury is already bias towards a particular result, then they are naturally going to vote towards that result. I'm not saying this particular jury was or wasn't biased, but, again, there is overwhelming evidence that shows Texas jurors prefer to side with the plaintiff on patent infringement claims compared to other states, particularly in East Texas.

I'm not saying Nintendo didn't infringe, I'm just providing support that even when a jury decides a company infringed on a patent doesn't necessarily mean they did, which is why Nintendo is going through with the appeal.

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Doctor_MG

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Edited By Doctor_MG

@7tizz:

Jury are selected at a local level (I.e. Texas). With similar culture comes similar attitudes. Also, there is direct evidence that this is so. I don't know why you are arguing this when even the Supreme Court identifies it.

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Doctor_MG

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Edited By Doctor_MG

@7tizz:

Nice ad hominum, bud. You just didn't have anything left to say. That's okay, you have a good one too.

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Flyin3lvl

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So should/ could sony sue Ms for the kinect as it was based on the eye toy from the ps2 eta?

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Flyin3lvl

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@7tizz: dont take it seriously- i was making a stupid comment based on nothing

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wvryanrucker304

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Edited By wvryanrucker304

You know with so many technolog/names comeing out were bound to run into similiarities between them all so what you both detetect body movement except one is used in video games and the other is for medical purposes instead of going after each other for something out of your control like the very few ways of detecting the types the specific thing your trying to detect why don't you just accept that they are alike and quess what if you both explore your avenues and share your data you could make leaps and bounds in both your fields make both medical and video game uses better

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KamiNoBeniMizu

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Edited By KamiNoBeniMizu

I wonder when Apple will sue iLife for the lowercase "i" in the name "iLife". You know, "iLife", "iPhone". Right? Apple technically could sue them for a similarly questionable case.

Just like Sky sued Hello Games because of "No Man's Sky".

Heck, there was a company that sued Nintendo because of the "U" in "Wii U". Some courts should just dismiss some cases when they seem overly questionable. Seems like a waste of time AND money for most parties involved.

EDIT:I know I mostly spoke about cases involving "copyrighted" names (yeah right), but sometimes, cases involving patents can be just as ridiculous. I hope that if iLife is wrong, they'll lose.

If they are right though, they better win. But chances are, they are just there to get a piece of the success of the Wii (they could have filled a complaint way faster than that if there was reasonable doubt Nintendo copied their tech).

As for the Switch lawsuit, I wonder how it'll turn out. Seems like another ridiculous case as well.

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KamiNoBeniMizu

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@7tizz: Basically, literally copy-paste a product, but with a different name. If Nintendo did that, I bet they'd lose automatically.

So it must be somewhere in between where it looks similar enough for there to be a lawsuit, but at the same time, it could still be an original idea from them. I just hope they didn't steal anything, because if they did... well, that would be awkward.

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BigFeef

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@7tizz: That's the way it's supposed to be; and actually how it is in most countries. Unfortunately; US patent laws are downright ridiculous and make no sense simply because you can get a patent issued that covers a very broad set of ideas without having any kind of working model, or as you put it "engineering and algorithms". Combine this with lax lawsuit laws and you have a recipe for disaster. Take a wild guess why patent trolling can only really work in the US...

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Richardthe3rd

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@BigFeef: it's a mess for sure, but without putting to large a tin-foil hat on, it makes sense.

Essentially, the USPTO issues weak patents that cost a few thousand to people like iLife, arming them to bring suit against someone like Ninty.

Then Ninty brings the real money to the ordeal when it conducts studies and petitions to invalidate the extremely weak patent... more or less, to the people who issued it. And usually these things don't get overturned until the appeal.

It's am extremely broken process, largely because the USPTO is doing a horrible job of gatekeeping patents and not requiring enough diligence of applicants coming in the front door. But if they fix that part of the process, there's potentially less money in it for them.

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lostn

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Only $10m. That means royalties for each unit would have only been worth 10 cents.

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onesiphorus

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Just because a jury decided on this case does not mean it is over. It will years before that will happen and most cases, Nintendo will eventually prevail on appeal.

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lostn

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Edited By lostn

@onesiphorus: I don't think it's worth fighting this in court for only $10m. It will cost more than that in legal expenses to try and overturn it. Usually if it's a small enough amount, big firms will just pay it, even if they think it's an invalid lawsuit, because fighting it will end up costing more than they are asking.

It's an unfair system, but it is what it is.

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Richardthe3rd

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Lol, the fact that you'd allow a jury to consider a case like this is absolutely stupid.

This sort of technical case should be decided by a panel of judges, which is exactly what will happen in appeals, and I'd bet money this ruling will be overturned.

The damage from this sort of case far exceeds the 10 million price tag if this ruling is allowed to stand; it stands to open the floodgates for similar, stupid cases like this.

Nintendo absolutely needs to bury them, even if legal fees surpass that 10 million.

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Thanatos2k

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@Richardthe3rd: Panel of judges? Are you kidding? Judges often know even less about tech than the average jury member of the public.

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Richardthe3rd

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Edited By Richardthe3rd

@Thanatos2k: so, you're telling me that a panel of people likely highly trained and educated in law is not as favorable compared to a group of people who may have intentionally been selected due to their ignorance/ impressionability?

Understanding the tech is one thing, understanding whether the plaintiff actually provided adequate grounds for patent infringement and interpreting the scenario so it doesnt introduce damaging precedent is another.

ALSO: Google search immediately lends itself that the appeals court for these cases is where patents held by companies like iLife go to die. My money is definitely on Nintendo winning this in the end.

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Thanatos2k

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@Richardthe3rd: You're acting like a judge wouldn't use his own opinions on how they feel patents should be used to sway their decision, like they're robots or something.

Yes, old judges will know the law better than jurors, but they'll be clueless about technology. Being able to figure out what the technology does and what it's used for would be beyond someone the age my parents who thinks all consoles are "Nintendos"

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Richardthe3rd

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@Thanatos2k: again, judges, especially appeals judges, are very familiar with the practices of these patent litigation companies and deal with them accordingly. Your notion that patent appeals judges, who review cases like this and far more complex ones, don't understand technology well enough to adequately decide this is naive.

It doesn't matter if it's video games, automation, biotechnology, whatever. These judges have consistently sided with whatever company brings the products to market so long as the patent holders claim is very broad, obscure and has been unexercised.

This article lends to the understanding that their patent claim fits all of that and I fully expect it to get invalidated. By judges. Who understand law, and have a MUCH better understanding of technology and inventions than you are giving them credit.

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Thanatos2k

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@Richardthe3rd: So you seem to be admitting you don't even care if Nintendo is guilty (which they are) you're just banking on appeals judges ruling for them regardless of whether they stole tech (which they did).

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Richardthe3rd

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Edited By Richardthe3rd

@Thanatos2k: great redirect away from the judge v. Jury thing! And while I love your conviction and clear bias against Nintendo, if you think Nintendo should be found guilty in this sort of case then you're basically condoning some of the biggest problems with patent law in this country.

If you consider this "stealing tech" then the vast majority of technological advancements and inventions to come in there next 20 years will also be examples of "stealing tech," and bottom feeders that increase the expense and barriers to bring new tech to markets will continue limiting the people able to do so to the Nintendos of the world, who we've established you hate. Seems like a bit of a contradiction to me.

Let me know if you really think that's a healthy environment for innovation and advancement, but until you do, I'm going to assume you aren't that stupid.

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Thanatos2k

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Edited By Thanatos2k

@Richardthe3rd: You're the one deflecting, pretending like the opinion of an appeals judge who doesn't understand technology somehow negates the truth of the matter. A jury was already convinced. Your own anger is blinding you, and you are so very desperate to hope the appeal is successful.

An "healthy environment for innovation and advancement" is irrelevant, because Nintendo doesn't foster one with their illegal erroneous DMCA takedowns of everything they see and their refusal to accept Fair Use. Nintendo uses the laws when they suit them, and ignores them when they don't, so I'm not shedding any tears when unfair laws come back to bite them. It's justice.

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Richardthe3rd

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@Thanatos2k: so what's next in this gauntlet of anti-Nintendo hate? We've got patents, dmca take downs, I just can't wait to see where you wriggle next!

Please, spare me the sanctimonious bullshit about how terrible Nintendo is. This is about a bogus abuse of patent law that Nintendo will destroy in appeals, like 3/4s of similar cases that go there where the defendant has even the faintest resemblance of competent representation. And Ninty's will be VERY competent.

I'm definitely not mad. But if you think Nintendo getting 1/10 of the penalty that iLife asked for is "justice" compared to whatever example of how horrid you think Nintendo is, you should be. And be sure not to remind yourself how lopsided the sum of this remains in Nintendo's favor.

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GirlUSoCrazy

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BS I hope they appeal

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Richardthe3rd

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@girlusocrazy: they will, and chances are extremely likely they'll torpedo the **** out of these pieces of shit.

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Richardthe3rd

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@7tizz: http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2015/04/10/comprehensive-study-of-patent-trial-and-appeal-board-decisions/id=56675/

Per this study, 76% of these so-called patent holders have their patents invalidated in the appeal process.

I'll take my 76% odds, you keep your 24%.

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Latiran

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@Richardthe3rd: That guy is hilarious isn't he the way he's going around this comment section preaching when his avatar has only on Xbox on it.

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