Nintendo Loses 3DS Patent Infringement Case, Ordered to Pay Ex-Sony Engineer $30.2 Million

March 14, 2013 -

Nintendo has lost a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Tomita Technologies and has been ordered to pay $30.2 million. The patent relates to glasses-free 3D displays, which Sejiro Tomita claims Nintendo used to develop its 3DS hand-held after a 2003 meeting with the plaintiff where he introduced his technology to engineers within the company. Nintendo has been ordered to pay $30.2 million in damages to Tomita Technologies after a jury found that the company infringed on a patent for glasses-free 3D displays.

Last month in federal court lawyers for Tomita argued that he had met with several Nintendo research & development engineers in 2003 to show off a prototype of his technology. Nintendo countered during the case that Tomita's technology was one of many potential vendors that it met with during that time period.

The judge overseeing the case sided with Tomita, noting similarities between the 3DS' stereoscopic display and the one described in Tomita's patent. While the ruling is pretty bad for Nintendo it pales in comparison to what Tomita had initially asked the court for: over $292 million, or $9.80 for every Nintendo 3DS sold.

Nintendo said in a statement that it was "confident that the result will be set aside" and that "the jury's verdict will not impact Nintendo's continued sales in the United States."

Source: Ars Technica


Comments

Re: Nintendo Loses 3DS Patent Infringement Case, Ordered to ...

Wow, I'm kind of surprised at this.  It seemed pretty damning for his case that a half dozen others were showing such tech to Nintendo at the same time.  Seemed to take the wind out of his "they blew me off and then used my tech anyway" sails.  But apparently not...

Re: Nintendo Loses 3DS Patent Infringement Case, Ordered to ...

Now, before anyone goes off and starts complaining about patent trolls, this guy doesn't fit the troll mold.

He is not operating through a shell company based in a shared, empty office in East Texas. His company is not registered in Delaware. And he is a real person who can be tracked down. 

That said, I am not sure how much if anything in his patent was actually violated by Nintendo. Having a jury rule in his favor doesn't say a whole lot other than he was able to convince them. I do expect this ruling to be appealed multiple times before it is settled.

 
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