Quintal Research Group, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc.
Case No. 4:13-cv-00888
United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Filed February 27, 2013; Terminated July 17, 2015

Plaintiff Quintal Research Group, Inc. filed suit against Defendants Nintendo of America, Inc. and Nintendo Company Ltd. for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,425,944. The ‘944 patent, entitled “Computerized Information Retrieval System,” relates to a portable handheld communication device for rapid retrieval of computerized information. The device connects with network computer consoles to optimize data input and output using thumb controls instead of a keyboard.

Quintal alleged that the location of the thumb-activated controls on Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld gaming device infringed the ‘944 patent.

Nintendo argued in its Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement that the “ordinary meaning of ‘symmetrically arranged’ is ‘mirror image,’ such that the two thumb controls specified in Claims 1 and 9 must correspond in size, shape, and position on each side of the display screen of the handheld deck.” Claims 1 and 9 of the ‘944 patent teach the use of two thumb controls that are symmetrically arranged on each side of the display screen. The court found that one skilled in the art would understand the “symmetrically arranged” language in ‘944 patent to mean that the thumb controls are mirror images of one another.

On July 17, 2015, this case was terminated with the court’s granting of the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement. The court found that Nintendo's gaming devices did not infringe the '944 patent. The judge stated that the left and right buttons on Nintendo's Game Boy devices did not infringe the asserted patent because the buttons do not correspond in shape, size, or position on each side of the centerline of the display screen.
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