UltimatePointer Goes After Nintendo's Wii Remote: Patent Trolling?
Hey Nintendo, you've been served, and I don't mean in terms of swinging a virtual racket with your Wii Remote (though the latter's surely related). Noticed by Gamasutra, it seems a company called UltimatePointer has the famous Japanese game maker in its crosshairs over patent claims relating to the Wii's wireless master controller.
In short, UltimatePointer claims Nintendo infringed on its patent for an "Easily Deployable Interactive Direct-Pointing System and Presentation Control System and Calibration Method Therefor." (A copy of the full court filing in PDF format is here.) UltimatePointer's patent for the technology was issued on June 29, 2010, and the original application was issued on December 8, 2005, roughly a year before the Wii's U.S. launch in November 2006.
UltimatePointer has named over a dozen resellers in the suit, too, including GameStop, Best Buy, Sears, Kmart, Target, Wal-Mart, and of all companies, Dell.
"This is an action for patent infringement...by making, using, selling, offering to sell, and/or importing Nintendo Wii systems, games, and related accessories (the 'accused products'), in this Judicial District and elsewhere in the United States, without the authorization of the owner," reads UltimatePointer's introduction to the complaint.
UltimatePointer says it notified Nintendo in advance of the patent, but that Nintendo "refused to cease its infringement after notice," and instead "continued and still continues to deliberately infringe [the patent]." UltimatePointer amps up the legal rhetoric at this point, claiming Nintendo's infringement is "willful and in bad faith, entitling UltimatePointer to increased damages."
How much are we talking? UltimatePointer wants (unspecified) "damages" including "a reasonable royalty," attorneys fees, court costs, and whatever else the court "may deem just and proper."
The company's UPoint product is currently only available for preorder: "A few months from now, the Upoint & PinPoint products will have passed the rigorous testing scheme they are currently undergoing," reads a note on the site. "Until then you can unfortunately not yet purchase the units."
If most of that sounds like patent trolling to you, it does to me, too, though UltimatePointer's not alone in targeting Nintendo: Gamasutra notes the Nintendo was sued by ThinkOptical earlier this month over the latter's patent for "Electronic equipment for handheld vision based absolute pointing system."
Sure, Nintendo's the big cash piñata here, but based on the patent descriptions, it sounds like ThinkOptical and UltimatePointer have their own patent issues to sort out.