Press Released: The Laughing Of Corporate Hyenas

Press Released: The Laughing Of Corporate Hyenas

The easiest way to make a killing in the gaming industry isn't creating a top-selling game, says Sean Sands, it's filing just the right patent infringement lawsuit.

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Sean,

While I agree with you I need to point out a slight error.

Anascape won for infringements due to infringements with the Dual Analog controllers on the Wii Classic, Wavebird, and Gamecube controllers. They won that against Microsoft as well. They lost the part of their suit that focused on the Wiimote.
http://www.patentarcade.com/2008/06/case-update-anascape-v-nintendo.html

Hillcrest has produced it's motion reading controller in several sold packages before, so their case against the Wiimote is actually a lot stronger and a little more frightening for Nintendo.

I hate what these companies are doing, but they evidently have legs to stand on.

I wanted to chime in with essentially similar information to Jhereg42: I've been reading articles about Hillcrest Lab's motion control device for home theater systems for multiple years in coverage of events like CES. I didn't know that they'd actually sold anything yet, but I did know that they've been at this a while.

While companies like this *cough*Monster Cables*cough* are the bane of all technology industries, Hillcrest isn't exactly your average patent troll (i.e. company holding nothing but patents and law degrees). While I think they're overstepping their bounds, as Ninty isn't really infringing on their intellectual space, they probably saw the opportunity to ride some fat coattails, and corporate went for it.

Patents and lawsuits are so slick, so slimy, so twisted, I just hate them!

The real question is... when will a bunch of companies get together and sue the US patent office? Seriously, their criteria for patents are the source of so much bullshit that it's gotta come back at them sooner or later.

Dude...at least do your homework when you post a rant like this. It's easier than ever.

http://www.google.com/patents

Anascape invented a method for preventing rumble packs from interfering with controller input. Sony was actively licensing the tech when Nintendo decided they didn't have to do the same thing. Hillcrest was also actively licensing a technology that -wait for it- interprets gyroscope motions and data more efficiently through what I think is software. Logitech along with a few other companies were licensing it at time of lawsuit. If some engineer tells me I'm a dumbass, fine. I don't fully follow the actual patents but that seems like the gist of it to me.

It's called a patent search. God forbid a journalist writing an article about the evils of patent law do one, but a major corporation like Nintendo? It costs a couple grand to hire a lawyer to search every patent in the United States and make sure you're not infringing. And, wait for it, if a company actually bothers to do this before inventing a bunch of pre-patented technology, they can save the R&D and just license it.

Now here's the thing that's really going to piss people off. Nintendo is being a huge asshole about all of these suits. Why? Because their entire revenue is based on consoles and video games. Sony and Microsoft can afford the licensing fees (they have other sources of revenue) and aren't trying to squeeze every penny out of their inventions by licensing tech if necessary. So Nintendo, due to their economic situation, is refusing to admit that anyone has a right to tech that they probably (I would be stunned if they did not) already knew existed. Instead, they're hoping to beat them in court and keep all the cash for themselves.

Thank God their army of loyal fans will leap to defend a brand name without fact checking or even questioning what's really going on.

Most certainly there are a fair number of young people who start out as gaming enthusiasts who go on to become technologists. Some continue on to become inventors and when they do they start as a small company.

Just in case you didn't know all large companies start as small companies. In order to grow into a larger company, to hire additional people, do research, and perhaps bring out products they must receive compensation for their inventions.

The problem is that existing large companies often play school yard bullies and steal from the newer smaller companies.

When that happens the smaller company has to find someone to partner with to survive, someone who can help them extract fair compensation.

Companies like Microsoft and the rest of the Coalition for Patent Fairness are in my opinion much like organized crime. They are parasites on society at large. While some of us invent and in the process create jobs and tax base Piracy Coalition members steal, makes lots of money with our inventions, and produce a great deal of innovative public relations hype. While these companies cannot produce the inventions which they need to keep their customers happy they are very good a conning those customers into being accessories to blatant theft, to being accomplices of larceny on the grandest of scales.

Rather than resenting others' invention successes all of you should be striving to walk in their footsteps. Such a path is the greatest and most rewarding game of all!

Ronald J. Riley,

Speaking only on my own behalf.
Affiliations:
President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow - www.patentPolicy.org
President - Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

Only in America.....................*sigh*

L.B. Jeffries:
So Nintendo, due to their economic situation, is refusing to admit that anyone has a right to tech that they probably (I would be stunned if they did not) already knew existed. Instead, they're hoping to beat them in court and keep all the cash for themselves.

I agree with you that the article assumes quite a bit. I'm not saying that Nintendo is innocent, but there is something very seriously wrong with the patent system as it pertains to software and hardware designs. I hope you can agree with me in that respect. Of course, it's entirely possible that Nintendo hurt their brains thinking about how to make motion sensing work... only to resort to stealing Hillcrest's invention. That's for the courts to decide, I guess. After reading the patent, I'm thinking that they just have a common sense solution to the novel idea of motion sensing. I'm sure there are more than a few stories where even Ronald J. Riley rolls his eyes in disbelief of how people have abused the patent system.

Ayn Rand talked a lot about people like Hillcrest. Something about them being parasites and requiring the attention of an assault rifle.

Echolocating:

L.B. Jeffries:
So Nintendo, due to their economic situation, is refusing to admit that anyone has a right to tech that they probably (I would be stunned if they did not) already knew existed. Instead, they're hoping to beat them in court and keep all the cash for themselves.

I agree with you that the article assumes quite a bit. I'm not saying that Nintendo is innocent, but there is something very seriously wrong with the patent system as it pertains to software and hardware designs. I hope you can agree with me in that respect. Of course, it's entirely possible that Nintendo hurt their brains thinking about how to make motion sensing work... only to resort to stealing Hillcrest's invention. That's for the courts to decide, I guess. After reading the patent, I'm thinking that they just have a common sense solution to the novel idea of motion sensing. I'm sure there are more than a few stories where even Ronald J. Riley rolls his eyes in disbelief of how people have abused the patent system.

I totally agree with you. The patent system is atrocious. Honestly, the invention sector isn't even that bad, the software and programming patents would make a grown man cry. Watching someone argue that someone copied their line of code, freaking code, shows an amazing amount of ignorance on the part of the government and even more corruption from the people pushing these patents forward.

But in this particular instance? I'm not sure Nintendo needs a white knight defending them against a couple of companies that, no matter how stupid the system may be, were just following its rules.

Copter400:
Ayn Rand talked a lot about people like Hillcrest. Something about them being parasites and requiring the attention of an assault rifle.

For what? For actualy developing and building wiimotes before nintendo did and then spending the next 2 years setting up a lawsuit that doesn't get wtfpwned by nintendo's lawyers in seconds?

please see http://www.piausa.org/ for an opposing view

Surely Nintendo has the money and manpower to just run these companies out of existence.

With a $billion in three months they can just afford to fight to the case, then fight it some more, until the little litigous buggers are so far in debt that their legal team will clear out and no-one else will touch it as it becomes a case that can't be won.

Nintendo can afford to drop hundreds of millions over (probably) several years for the sake of proving a point, are either Hillcrest or Anascape in a similar position?

As with most controversies, there are ways on both sides of this argument that are equally exploitative and potentially cruel. Such is the nature of any social construct.

Incidentally, it may be of interest to some of you that Microsoft had a motion sensitive PC game controller in 1998, the Sidewinder Freestyle Pro. Of course, the device is now almost completely unsupported.

Replying to #14: But can they afford the press on such a scheme? Of the big three current console devs, nintendo comes off as the more "family oriented". A huge, crush them with money, litigation on someone who owns the patents anyway leaves them looking like scientology does when it sues people at the drop of a hat. I don't think they want that type of publicity

DreamKing:
Only in America.....................*sigh*

Oh please. Look around the globe and you will find no shortage of those who will happily steal the ideas of others for their own gain.

The most wealthy country in the world founded their *entire* economy on this principle.

Comparing these selfish, lazy, unethical lawsuit filers to hyenas is insulting and disrespectful...to the hyenas.

That said, if documentation can be provided to prove one company used another one's design without permission, then there's a genuine legal issue there. But yes, these people who just -wait- for the chance to sue a company for managing to complete a project that they themselves deliberately left half finished so they could make the biggest profit with the least effort, that's just pathetic.

 

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