Once again it's that special time of the week when Nintendo gets slapped with a lawsuit by some company nobody has ever heard of.
This time it's Hillcrest Laboratories Inc. stepping up to the plate with claims that its motion-control technology is being used in the hugely successful Nintendo Wii. Three of Hillcrest's patents are for motion-control technology known as Freespace, according to a report by Bloomberg, while a fourth covers "graphical interface software used on the television."
Unlike many previous "patent troll" lawsuits, however, this one may have a somewhat more solid basis: Hillcrest has actually developed and licensed its motion-control and graphic interface techologies to companies including Logitech and Universal Electronics. "While Hillcrest Labs has a great deal of respect for Nintendo and the Wii, Hillcrest Labs believes that Nintendo is in clear violation of its patents and has taken this action to protect its intellectual property rights," the company said.
Hillcrest has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission requesting that importation of the Wii and Wii Remotes be blocked, as well as a civil lawsuit which predictably seeks a cash settlement, although the actual amount was not revealed. The lawsuit will "likely" be suspended while the ITC conducts an investigation, which normally drag on for about 15 months.
Nintendo has been hit with numerous lawsuits in the wake of the phenomenal success of the Wii, and currently has litigation pending in Texas, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Wilmington. The company is also seeking to overturn a $21 million ruling against it in a patent infringement case involving the Wii Classic, WaveBird and GameCube controllers.