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09.02.17

Japan (Kyoto) Based Nintendo Suffers From Texas, the World’s Capital of Patent Litigation

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 10:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Where judges put their own financial interests before the rule of law

Rodney Gilstrap

Summary: Nintendo finds patent hostility in the US market, with particular judgments that are favourable to software patents and pass the burden to the accused

THE USPTO is generally regarded as the default or de facto patent office, as WIPO, for example, does not grant patents and the US is an essential market for many multinational companies. There’s nothing controversial about that statement. The EPO may want to be in the same position, but given Battistelli’s gaslighting and terror, it’s hardly surprising that EP applications from the US sank like a rock. The EPO is quickly becoming irrelevant and EPs granted over the course of decades lose their value.

Tomita Technologies (Japanese person, Seijiro Tomita, a former employee of Sony), fighting with Nintendo of Japan, may soon find itself wrestling in the US Supreme Court. There are “implications for software and electronics companies,” says this new report, as it’s about the doctrine of equivalents (covered here before):

Tomita Technologies has asked the US Supreme Court to hear its lawsuit against Nintendo over 3D imaging patents and rule on the doctrine of equivalents.

In its petition, Tomita said that the case has implications for software and electronics companies, particularly the importance of objective guidelines to provide certainty when determining equivalence between hardware and software implementations of patented technology.

In 2013, Tomita won a $30 million judgement after a district court jury found that the Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming system infringed Tomita’s patent for capturing and displaying 3D images without the need for special glasses.

Having worked on research in the area of 3D imaging, I can say with certainty it’s all about software (except the acquisition part/s). Why should Nintendo not challenge the patents on this basis?

The case that received a lot more media attention, however, is iLife Technologies Inc. v Nintendo. Gaming sites [1, 2], British news sites, and even Joe Mullin in the US, have covered it.

Welcome to Texas, Nintendo. That’s where patent litigation/lawsuits are big (legal) ‘business’. A jury in Texas (home of patent trolls) decided in favour of a software patent for “detecting if a person has fallen down.” As a gaming site put it:

After suing Nintendo over the motion-sensing accelerometers used for Wii Remotes, iLife has been awarded $10 million by a Texas Jury.

Nintendo has provided a statement explaining “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 ought to appeal and take this case as far as possible from Texas, where justice on patents has been farcical (or dubious at best).

After TC Heartland it will be easier moving lawsuits out of Texas; but then there’s this new analysis regarding jurisdiction:

In determining that a Kansas court did not have personal jurisdiction over an accused patent infringer, the Federal Circuit found that the accused infringer’s activities prior to the date the patent was granted were irrelevant to the question of whether the infringer had sufficient activity in Kansas such that the Kansas court had personal jurisdiction over the accused infringer. The court also found a forum selection clause in an end user license agreement accepted by the accused infringer did not apply and could not be used in the patent infringement suit to dictate the court in which the case would be heard.

Nintendo does not target Texas specifically. In fact, Texas would be pretty insignificant (fiscally) to Nintendo.

Why are disputes over software patents still being dealt with in a state where judges are “reprehensible”, according to US politicians? They barely even follow the law, they just do what they believe is good for their local economy.

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