Nintendo Wii Infringes Medical Device Patents, Jury Says

By: Nick Dellefave

A jury in the Northern District of Texas has found video game giant Nintendo guilty of patent infringement in connection with technology used in its Wii and Wii U controllers.

The suit, filed by medical device technology company iLife in 2013, alleged that the motion-sensing systems used in the controllers infringe six of iLife’s patents, including those titled Systems for Evaluating Movement of a Body and Methods of Operating the Same, System and Method for Detecting Motions of a Body, and Systems Within a Communications Device for Evaluating Movement of a Body and Methods of Operating the Same, issued between 2001 and 2009.

The systems Nintendo is alleged to have infringed include the use of accelerometers to track the movement of the body. According to iLife, the covered technologies were used in medical monitors intended to detect when elderly patients fell or infants were at risk of death from sudden infant death syndrome and to call an ambulance. iLife also filed suit against Under Armour and FitBit for using similar technologies in their products, though both suits were ultimately settled out of court.

In the lawsuit, iLife sought a $4 royalty on each Wii controller sold in the six years before the suit was filed – a total of 36 million units, or $144 million. While the jury did find infringement, it awarded iLife a relatively more modest sum of $1.1 million.

Nintendo has indicated that it intends to appeal, stating publicly that “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.”

Cites:

Brian Crecente, Wii Remote Lawsuit Ends in $10M Verdict Against Nintendo, Rolling Stone, http://www.rollingstone.com/glixel/features/wii-remote-lawsuit-ends-in-10m-verdict-against-nintendo-w500619 (August 31, 2017).

Nintendo loses court case over Wii motion controllers, BBC News, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41147512 (September 4, 2017).

Will Yakowicz, Nintendo Loses Patent Lawsuit, Ordered to Pay $10 Million, Inc., https://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/nintendo-loses-patent-infringement-case-wii.html (September 5, 2017).

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