back to article Nintendo: We didn't just slay Wii Fit 'troll', we've now gobbled its patents

"Patent troll" InterActive (IA) Labs not only tried to sue Nintendo and lost: it's now had its patent portfolio bought by the gaming giant in a sheriff's sale. The fun began in 2010, when Maryland-based US peripheral maker IA filed suit alleging that Nintendo infringed its fitness gadget and exercise sensor patents by …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Partial Repayment.

    "Nintendo has now claimed that the payments didn't happen – and as a result, 'a sheriff's sale Montgomery County, Maryland, was conducted to sell IA Labs' remaining assets, including its patent portfolio. Nintendo obtained IA Labs' entire patent portfolio at that sale as partial repayment for litigation costs.'”

    ... and they all lived happily ever after!

    : )

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Partial Repayment.

      Not so fast.

      Everyone hates patent trolls, and in many cases rightly so. However, as this comment elsewhere points out, it's not so clear cut:-

      "IA labs made actual products similar to wii-fit and met with Nintendo to discuss making Wii accessories using their technology at about the time the 3DS was to be released. IA then found out that Nintendo made the accessories themselves, apparently "stealing the ideas" that IA presented to them. So that's not what we'd normally call a patent troll. It turns out that Nintendo had been developing the products before meeting with IA, and the court ruled that Nintendo didn't infringe the IA patents, so IA lost."

      In short, it appears to be a patent dispute, but while Nintendo's win *may* have been right, that doesn't automatically mean the losing party was "trolling".

      It's open to question whether Nintendo are trying to make themselves look good by painting the company they defeated as a troll. (Contrary to what the discussion above claims, Nintendo *did* themselves call them a "troll" in their press release:- ).

      As was also mentioned, it's possible that this might be the start of a trend where companies start to exploit the legitimate dislike of patent trolls- a phenomenon that only started to be taken seriously when the industry establishment realised that it was clearly against their interests- as a smear tactic against any opponents in patent disputes.

      1. Kevin 6
        Thumb Down

        Re: Re: Partial Repayment. cvomment made at 10:33 GMT

        Did you look even at what Nintendo was sued for?

        they were sued for EVERY SINGLE WAY TO CONTROL THE Wii

        Wii motes, and all. Looking at this companies patents the products they were suing Nintendo for stealing look nothing like what Nintendo even made. Hell how does that contraption that looks like it has a gamecube controller glued to it look like the Wii fit board even? Or what is that seat thing that semi looks like some car seat supposed to be that Nintendo made?

        They also made a sub company that had absolutely 0 things made which the patents were transferred to just to sue Nintendo.

      2. dhoulb

        Re: Partial Repayment.

        I think people don't just hate patent trolls, they hate patents - full stop.

        Back in the 1700s, when there were just a handful of engineers in the world, it was pretty unlikely two people would come up with the same idea at the same time. It still happened, but it was rare, and usually solved with a gentleman's agreement. It's called 'parallel discovery'.

        Nowadays, in a world with millions of engineers and scientists, there is simply no chance that an idea can be novel or inventive.

        The idea that any accessory for a games console could be truly inventive, does just not fit in today's world. Sit five smart people in a room for 2 hours and you could've come up with the the same ideas.

        Patents are great when you're protecting someone's life's work - a person in a tiny room for five years inventing a new type of engine - but when it's two guys in a product development meeting over an afternoon - it doesn't need, and should not get, legal protection.

        Today, EVERYTHING is about execution and scale. Not ideas.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Partial Repayment.

      Sony should really have sued Nintendo for stealling the WiiMote so plebs everywhere would know that Sony invented the idea 4 years before the Wii, Nintendo copied it, rushed out a non-working one (and then sold plebs everywhere a WiiMote+ dongle to fix it).

      From 2004:

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Partial Repayment. Sony & Nintendo

        Actually two completely different teams came out with two similar ideas at a similar time.

        There are many differences just for starters.

        Wii system uses IR lamp ontop of TV and IR sensors in the controllers

        Move system uses glowing balls and a camera

        Different methods same result.

  2. dan1980

    I think the appropriate aphorism is "pwned".

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This is it.

    1. Irony Deficient

      Re: Irony

      Huh? Where?

  4. P. Lee

    Troll Spawn Fail

    You have failed to spawn a separate company for this attack. You are killed by a grue.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But but but...

    If the patents have already been deemed invalid by a court surely they are worthless?

    1. It'sa Mea... Mario

      Re: But but but...

      Invalid? Not necessarily, just that they were not infringed.

    2. mythicalduck

      Re: But but but...

      Exactly what I was going to say

  6. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Bowser lost...

    ...and Mario won.

    All patent trolls need to experience the same treatment - and close up shop for good.

  7. MJI Silver badge

    Those patents are a bit tenuous

    Looks like they used patents for the wrong things to try to troll Nintendo

  8. Sandpit

    Fruity result

    I hope Samsung one day gets to own Apple by the same reasoning.

    (expecting the down votes despite the joke alert)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fruity result

      I'd rather they both fucked off for good, personally. Who the hell needs a bendy TV?

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