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Hillcrest sues Nintendo and wants Wii imports stopped

by User Not Found | Aug 21, 2008

Few Wii users will have heard of Hillcrest Labs, except perhaps those who also read this blog. Back in January I described Hillcrest's TV guide and "Loop" remote control technology in relation to an online VOD store. Funnily enough I referenced the Wii in that item, suggesting that Hillcrest was encouraged by Nintento's success as it justified the general concept of 3D air controllers. Looking back I suppose I could have read into those comments that Hillcrest were taking rather a closer interest in Nintendo than was immediately obvious at the time. Yesterday Hillcrest filed a claim with the U.S. International Trade Commission based in Washington, D. C., that Nintendo with its Wii system has infringed Hillcrest's U.S. Patent Nos. 7,158,118, 7,262,760, and 7,414,611. These refer to a navigation interface display system that graphically organizes content for display on a television. I'm no lawyer or expert on patents, so I'm happy to let the US courts work this one out. I would only point out that such cases tend to go on for many months if not years, and it would be unexpected for a ban on Wii system imports to be granted. I would also surmise that Hillcrest has been attempting to win license fees from Nintendo without success prior to launching this action. Nevertheless investors have taken note of the potential seriousness of the case: Nintendo shares fell 3.6% yesterday. It's not unusual for large successful companies to be pursued for all manner of claims by smaller firms; in fact it seems to be almost routine. Nintendo itself has been involved in a similar case over the vibration technology deployed in its controllers, and has been found to infringe patents owned by Anascape. The injunction brought against Nintendo in that case (first brought in July 2006) is still on hold pending Nintendo's appeal to the Federal Circuit. The Wii's success seems to have given Nintendo another headache it would like rather not have to deal with, and it may be a year or two before it shakes it off. Client Reading: Digital Media Devices Global Market Report Add to Technorati Favorites
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