Patents are powerful legal tools that can result in the protections for gaming devices. These protections can extend to everything from the console, software and accessories used for the gaming system. A recent case tests just how far these protections can go.
Control designer specialist takes on mega giant of the gaming world
Nintendo, a giant in the video game arena, is no stranger to lawsuits. The popular video game company recently won an ongoing battle against another company, Gamevice. In this battle, Gamevice accused Nintendo of patent infringement. They stated Nintendo had violated their “Combination Computing Device and Game Controller with Flexible Bridge Section” patent. This patent, they argue, covers the ability to have controllers that link and unlink. They state that Nintendo’s use of a similar design in their Switch device constitutes a violation.
Nintendo countered, stating the device was not covered by the patent. Another distinction of note: the patent covers controllers that require connection to a device to function while Nintendo’s game controllers have no such requirement. Gamevice asked the court to order Nintendo to cease production and pay damages for the infringement.
Ultimately, The Patent Trial and Appeal Board found in favor of Nintendo, stating “Gamevice’s claims were ‘unpatentable.’”
Major lesson for other game designers
The language used to receive patent protections is extremely important. Both those creating products and looking for protections must draft and review the language carefully. A failure to do so can result in inadequate protection.
However, as shown by Nintendo in this case, a careful reading of the patent can also allow for creative liberties.
It is important to keep these points in mind whether looking to apply for patent protections or develop a new, innovative device.