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As indicated in a previous post, Anascape Ltd., an invention and license-holding company, sued Microsoft and Nintendo for patent infringement over their controllers for their respective video game console systems. Microsoft settled before trial. Nintendo went to trial and lost. On Thursday, June 26, 2008, District Judge Ron Clark of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas denied Nintendo's claim that the payment to Anascape was excessive, for damages related to patent infringement of Nintendo's WaveBird and Gamecube controllers for the GameCube and Wii Classic controller for the Wii (the jury decided that the Nunchuk did not infringe Anascape's patents). Clark also tossed Nintendo's request for a new trial.

The patents in the case were U.S. Patent Numbers 5,999,084; 6,102,802; 6,135,886; 6,208,271; 6,222,525; 6,343,991; 6,344,791; 6,347,997; 6,351,205; 6,400,303; 6,563,415; and 6,906,700.

The case is Anascape Ltd. v. Microsoft Corp. et al., case number 9:06-cv-158, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

We'll keep you posted of further developments.
Nintendo of America Inc. v. Nyko Technologies Inc.
Case number 08-cv-907
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

Nintendo of America filed a lawsuit on June 10, 2008, against Nyko Technologies, in the Western District of Washington, alleging patent and treademark infringement. The patents at issue are U.S. Patent Numbers D556,201 and D556,760, both issued in 2007. The trademark at issue is Reg. No. 3370921, registered on Jan. 15, 2008.

This case concerns Nintendo's design patents on the Nunchuk controller, and Nyko's similarly appearing wireless controller, which Nyko refers to as the Nunchuck. Nintendo has two design patents covering the appearance of the Nunchuck, D556,201 and D556,760. The '201 patent is the broader of the two, and FIG. 1 is shown below:



The input areas are disclaimed, as is the region where the cable extends from the Nunchuk to the Wiimote.

Fig. 1 of the '760 patent is shown below:

This patent more narrowly claims the controller, including the input regions. At issue in this case, I am sure, will be to what extent the shape of the controller is to make the controller contoured to fit comfortably in a user's hand, i.e., has function, versus what portion of the design is merely aesthetic.

The trademark issue stems from Nintendo obtaining a trademark on NUNCHUK (Reg. No. 3370921, Jan. 15, 2008) for computer game controllers; electronic game controllers; video game controllers and joysticks for video game machines, whereas Nyko is calling theirs a NUNCHUCK (note the additional 'C').

We will watch this case and keep you posted of future developments.

DEC. 17, 2008: SETTLED!
So this blog tracks video game IP law updates, but here is a morsel that I just had to comment on: Sandra Day O'Connor (yes, THE Sandra Day O'Connor, i.e., the first woman ever appointed to the United States Supreme Court) is collaborating with Parsons The New School For Design on an online, interactive civic education project for seventh- and eighth-graders, and recently gave a presentation on the topic at the Games for Change conference (hosted at Parsons).

O'Connor said that the No Child Left Behind act of 2001 has "effectively squeezed out civics education" from public schools. "We can't forget that the primary purpose of public schools in America is to produce citizens who have the skills and knowledge to sustain our form of government," she said. "Public education is the only longterm solution to preserving an independent judiciary and constitutional democracy."

That's why, O'Connor said, she wanted to work alongside James Paul Gee (a prof at UW-Madison) to create Our Courts, which will begin rolling out in September 2009.

Read more here, at Wired.com.

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