Nintendo, Microsoft victorious in patent dispute

Judge dismisses lawsuit against console makers over design of low-voltage joystick ports.


A little more than two years ago, Fenner Investment filed suit against Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, claiming that the three companies' consoles violated a patent it held on a "Low-Voltage Joystick Port Interface." Fenner voluntarily dropped Sony from the suit less than two months later, but the court case against Nintendo and Microsoft dragged on until this week.

I strenuously object!.
I strenuously object!.

Yesterday, a US District Court judge granted Microsoft's and Nintendo's motions to dismiss the suit without a jury trial, saying a correct interpretation of the patent's claims supports the console makers' arguments. It's not entirely clear what those arguments are, as the motions in which they were made are sealed from the public.

"We are very pleased with the court's decision," a Nintendo representative said in a statement. "Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others. We also vigorously defend patent lawsuits when we firmly believe that we have not infringed another party's patent, despite the risks that this policy entails."

The description of the patent, #6,297,751, says it was originally developed by Lucent Technologies in 1998, the same year the original Dual Shock was released in the US for use with the original PlayStation.

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