Nintendo faces another suit over Wii technology

Marilyn Tennissen Nov. 12, 2008, 4:00am


Another company is taking on video game giant Nintendo in a lawsuit that alleges the popular Wii gaming device infringes previously patented technology.

Motiva LLC filed a patent infringement suit Nov. 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas-Tyler Division.

The Dublin, Ohio-based plaintiff, not to be confused with oil refiner Motiva Enterprises, claims Nintendo sells video game systems that embody the inventions covered by Motiva's patent for a hand-held movement sensing device.

Nintendo infringes at least one claim of U.S. Patent Number 7,292,151, titled "Human movement measurement system," the complaint says.

The plaintiff is represented by attorneys with the Lanier Law Firm PC and Ireland Carroll & Kelley PC.

"Using someone else's technology without permission is theft," Lanier said in a press release. "Nintendo makes video games where you get to play a thief, but that doesn't give them the right to be one."

Nintendo's Wii game console uses joystick technology that translates the player's motions to corresponding actions on the screen. Its popular Game Cube also uses advanced controller technology.

The patent, issued in November 2007, includes 91 claims related to a system for tracking the movement of a user with transponders and a processing unit for use on a computer with online capability. The invention allows for biomechanical tracing and analysis of functional movement and can be used to enhance exercise or physical rehabilitation, the patent says.

Nintendo's infringement is willful and "will continue to damage Motiva causing irreparable harm, for which there is not adequate remedy at law, unless enjoined by this court," the complaint states.

The suit seeks a permanent injunction, enhanced damages for willful infringement of Motiva's patent and an award of attorneys' fees.

Several suits have already been spawned by Nintendo's Wii system. In May of this year, Nintendo was hit with a $21 million patent infringement verdict in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas-Lufkin Division. In that case, jurors found that Nintendo infringed several patents to produce the Wii remote control device.

In September the U.S. International Trade Commission launched an investigation into allegations that the Wii system infringes four patents held by Hillcrest Laboratories.

Three of Hillcrest's patents protect the technology used for a handheld, three-dimensional pointing device, while the fourth covers a navigation interface display system that graphically organizes the content so it can be displayed on a television.

Case No. 6:08-cv-00429

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