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Patent Suit Against Nintendo, Microsoft Dismissed

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the courts-one-troll-zero dept.

Microsoft 30

Saul J writes with an update to the patent lawsuit that was filed by Fenner Investments back in 2007 against Nintendo and Microsoft. The suit alleged that the two companies had infringed upon a patent for a joystick port interface. The trial was set to begin today, but now Judge Leonard Davis of the US District Court in Tyler, Texas has ruled that there is no need for a jury trial. One of Nintendo's lawyers said, "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."

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microsoft patent respect? (0, Troll)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27222345)

"Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others...." no-one wanted to say the same about microsoft?

Re:microsoft patent respect? (1)

Laser_iCE (1125271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27222785)

I'm sure a lawyer from Microsoft would say the same thing about their own company.

Re:microsoft patent respect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27222813)

"Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others...." no-one wanted to say the same about microsoft?

I'm sure a lawyer from Microsoft would say the same thing about their own company.

Of course outside the Court or could be guilty of perjury.

hello (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27222349)

Penis!

dgf
  d dfd dvd

Re:hello (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27222667)

Newfags can't PENIS VAGINA

...Patent filed in 1998? (2, Interesting)

nintendoeats (1370249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27222379)

Wouldn't Ralph Baer (or Magnavox) have a patent on this? Given that all of that work was done in the 70s, I can't imagine nobody registered for a patent like this until 98.

Re:...Patent filed in 1998? (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27230227)

It's probably something more specific than just a port, some specific attributes. Also the first game ports were pretty much just wires directly to the buttons and such, digital codes only came later.

A DQ flip flop in 2001 (2, Informative)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27222417)

I have only scanned the patent, however.... I see Nintendos+Microsofts point, can you seriously patent a simple circuit whos main component is a DQ flip-flop in 2001. The other major component seems to be an RC network. The whole device would seem to be an encoder circuit. (possibly patentable in 1960) I don't know about law (especially US law), however as I understand it this would only be eligible for copyright protection under EU law.

Disclaimer: I know nothing about the law and the above is only my personal opinion.

The gameport (1)

_merlin (160982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27222799)

The circuit in the patent conceptually identical to the analog inputs on the classic PC gameport. They shouldn't have been granted a patent, as the idea is obvious and there is prior art. I don't think the devices they're suing over even use the same technique to read the joystick position.

Re:The gameport (2, Funny)

overlordofmu (1422163) | more than 5 years ago | (#27224273)

I believe I have stated countless times that I have patented the alphabet, addition and subtraction.

I believe everyone posting here today has failed to pay me my legally due royalties.

Re:The gameport (2, Informative)

Trevin (570491) | more than 5 years ago | (#27224277)

Not just the PC; I recall the Apple II used an analog joystick as well, and the Atari 400/800 used the same method described in the abstract for their paddle controllers. Those were in the market nearly 20 years before the patent was even filed!

Re:A DQ flip flop in 2001 (1)

cupogoodness (1294212) | more than 5 years ago | (#27224309)

Whatever the situation, the judge sent the lawsuit packing in a hurry.

Re:A DQ flip flop in 2001 (2, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#27226127)

I see Nintendos+Microsofts point, can you seriously patent a simple circuit whos main component is a DQ flip-flop in 2001.

Maybe the people who patented the use of a simple lookup table to add long filenames in an 8.3 based filesystem might disagree with you?

Re:A DQ flip flop in 2001 (1)

enjerth (892959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27228759)

Yes, but everything changes when they add "on the internet" to the patent claim.

Er, what? (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 5 years ago | (#27222449)

Where's the dismissal?

All I see is a one-line summary saying the judge decided against a jury trial. That isn't the same as dismissing the case. There's such a thing as a trial with a judge instead of a jury, common for civil cases. Where's the actual dismissal?

Fenner Investments Google search: Other cases (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27222693)

Fenner Investments [google.com] has had other cases of the same nature.

I wish Slashdot editors would do more research. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27222787)

Continuing my comment above: Gamespot [gamespot.com] has a story about the beginning of the case.

Unfortunately, we cannot depend on Slashdot editors to do much research before they post a story.

Here are 10 Microsoft patents [networkworld.com] . I haven't investigated further, I'm not in a position to be a Slashdot editor, but the descriptions give the impression that what is being patented are obvious extensions of what is already available, or extensions of what should be open standards. They seem to be the kind of "advance" that would be routine when doing new development.

Unfortunately, there is at present a heavy dependence on using U.S. government power to make money. There also seems to be a lot of trolls trolling other trolls.

Re:I wish Slashdot editors would do more research. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27223293)

There also seems to be a lot of trolls trolling other trolls

You know I never even considered that might happen before - serves them right! Though unfortunately if they haven't been making any products then they probably can't/won't get sued for much? Still, better that they fight amongst themselves than bother those who are actually making stuff and doing proper R&D.

Re:Er, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27227091)

I was wondering the same thing. Upon reading the headline I had a delightful vision of a Judge banging his gavel and saying "Case Dismissed! Bailiffs, dispose of the refuse." Following this two burley men pick up the troll by the hair and genitals, walk him out to the front door of the court house and throw him down an inexplicably long flight of stairs into dog excrement.

I guess that I still have to wait for that part to happen.

microsoft's history (1)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 5 years ago | (#27223221)

I am relieved because with Microsofts history with patent suits Nintendo may have a few setbacks.

Patent Trolling (1, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#27223541)

Now even Microsoft enters this sad, pathetic game. One day, no one will work anymore and no new ideas will be created - there will only be people suing each other over their patents on thinking, breathing and being alive.

Re:Patent Trolling (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27224179)

Now even Microsoft enters this sad, pathetic game.

Microsoft isn't suing Nintendo. They're being sued by Fenner Investments

Re:Patent Trolling (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#27225833)

My guess is that Fenner Investments isn't even looking to win the suit. They probably just want Nintendo and MS to pony up some settlement money.

Re:Patent Trolling (2, Insightful)

donaldm (919619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27238831)

My guess is that Fenner Investments isn't even looking to win the suit. They probably just want Nintendo and MS to pony up some settlement money.

That is why they are called "Patent Trolls". If more companies stood up to them these Trolls would just fade away, however most companies don't have the money to get patents invalidated so they pay up what is to all intensive purposes extortion money which unfortunately strengthens the patent in the eyes of the law (called precedent).

Patent Trolls usually start off attacking a company that is small and since the company can't afford any long drawn out litigation it pays what to them is affordable amount of money to make the Troll go away. This is great from the Troll's perspective so they go after more higher profile companies with a now much stronger patent always being careful not to attack those who can fight until they have strengthened their patent before the law.

Nasty but that's how the law can be made to work for the Troll. Fortunately this case was given the boot but I would not be surprised if the Troll bounced back with a slightly stronger patent and the fun continues again. In the long term it is the consumer who pays for this ridicules pantomime.

There is genuine patent litigation, however it only takes a few Troll's to bring the whole patent system into disrepute. Of course it does not help when you have countries that recognise software patents which IMHO are really patenting mathematical constructs and some simple electronic circuits that any second year University student would find obvious but that is an argument for another day.

Re:Patent Trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27225863)

Speaking of, you all are infringing on my patent on "Sitting on my ass browsing slashdot for time wasting purposes" patent.

Gimmicks. (-1, Troll)

justicenfa (724341) | more than 5 years ago | (#27224489)

More like Nintendo has a long history of creating gimmicks. Most of which have failed. Virtual boy anyone?

Re: Coward (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27224915)

Game Boy, anyone? Directional pad, anyone?

And don't forget the mainstreaming of a lot of techs that may have been done before, but were not successful on consoles (and copied verbatim) until Nintendo did it. Analog joystick (present, non-centering on the Atari 5200, I believe). Rumble. Touchscreen. Motion detection (even before Wii; they had some basic accelerometers in games all the way back with the Game Boy Color).

The Virtual Boy didn't survive, but Nintendo was doing what the other companies weren't: innovating. 3D was just starting out, and they had a system to render 3D the way we do now (N64), but then they also tried something that did 3D the way we see it, with actual stereograms.

Sometimes it doesn't succeed. The DS and the Wii could have gone the same way. But Nintendo tried. They went a different route, tried different things. Same, only better can only take you so far. Like Gunpei Yokoi (father of the Game Boy, but also the Virtual Boy) said, you can make a train go a little bit faster by tweaking it here, and there. But it takes a whole different frame of mind to get massive changes, from a normal train to a bullet train.

Nintendo has shown they've done such things. It doesn't make them gimmicks. The only worry is that they don't follow up, that they stagnate. But so far, they've done well.

Re:Gimmicks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27226521)

You have failed at Troll. Continue?

Re:Gimmicks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27234815)

â' â' â" â" â â' â â' B A ^A ^ESC

Hooray! (2, Funny)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 5 years ago | (#27226117)

It's really nice to see someone actually fight a stupid lawsuit rather than roll over and settle. Maybe we should let Nintendo run the insurance industry. Mario and Donkey Kong could do better than some of the current crop.

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