Nintendo is known for making Mario games, designing cute pocket monsters, and having an effective legal team.
The publisher announced today that it has successfully fought off an appeal from technology firm UltimatePointer in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate judges confirmed a previous ruling from the lower Seattle federal court that determined Nintendo’s motion-controlled Wii hardware does not infringe on UltimatePointer’s patents. These kinds of suits are common in any industry dealing with cutting-edge hardware design, and Nintendo has a long history of defending itself in high-profile patent cases while also aggressively using the legal system to protect its properties.
Patent trolls, companies that use their patents as weapons to generate revenue, are a continuing problem for companies working in technology spaces. The issue is that mounting a defense in court can often costs at least $1 million, and many successfully defended cases end up in the $2.5 million range. Because of that, some companies will settle to avoid hiring lawyers.
But in the case of the Wii, the court determined that UltimatePointer must pay some of Nintendo’s attorney fees. This is because claimant could not prove that it had done the proper investigation into Nintendo’s tech before bringing a lawsuit, which the court considers a waste of its time. Essentially, the judge is accusing UltimatePointer of engaging in patent troll-like behavior.
As Nintendo head counsel Ajay Singh said in a canned statement, this is more proof that you’re taking a risk when you sue Nintendo.
“This case again demonstrates that Nintendo will vigorously defend itself and its innovations against patent lawsuits,” he said. “It also demonstrates that, when justified, Nintendo will pursue all available options to recover attorney fees for improper litigation conduct. Nintendo continues to support reform efforts to reduce the unnecessary and inefficient burden patent cases like this one place on technology companies in the United States.”