Nintendo, Microsoft Prevail in Joystick Patent Lawsuit

A judge in the U.S. state of Texas has thrown out a lawsuit filed against Nintendo and Microsoft that alleged the two companies infringed on a patent covering an interface for joysticks.

The suit was filed in 2007 by Texas-based Fenner Investments and a jury trial was due to begin on Tuesday but on Monday Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas, dismissed the case.

"We are very pleased with the court's decision," said Rick Flamm, Nintendo of America's legal counsel in a statement. "Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others. We also vigorously defend patent lawsuits when we firmly believe that we have not infringed another party's patent, despite the risks that this policy entails."

The patent in question, U.S. patent 6,297,751, was granted in 2001 to Lucent Technologies for a "low-voltage joystick port interface" that converts analog signals from a joystick to digital signals that signify its position. At some point afterwards it was acquired by Fenner, which had previously pursued patent claims against companies including Alcatel, 3Com, Juniper Networks and Hewlett-Packard in the same court.

The original complaint also named Sony when it was filed on Jan. 5, 2007, but amended on Feb. 26 to remove the company's name. No information was provided about why the company dropped its pursuit of Sony.

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