Gamevice loses to Nintendo in Joy-Con patent infringement case

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While the quality of the Joy-Cons are still being debated in court, the existence of the Joy-Cons themselves has won in a separate court case. Gamevice, a manufacturer of mobile gaming accessories, took both Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Japan to court in 2018, making the accusation that the Switch Joy-Cons were infringing upon their snap-on mobile controller patents. This hadn't been their first lawsuit against the company either, where they filed a lawsuit against Nintendo for the Joy-Cons also infringing upon their Wikipad device. That case was both filed and dismissed in 2017.

The second case that Gamevice brought against Nintendo, in regards to their patents, was also dismissed, but Gamevice stubbornly appealed the decision, maintaining that Nintendo infringed upon their patents on 19 different occasions. Now, a final decision has been made in court, with Nintendo coming out as the victor. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board threw out all 19 claims against Nintendo, as they proved that controllers that can clip on or fasten to tablet-like devices are unpatentable. According to the legal document provided in the source, Gamevice made no effort to argue against Nintendo's evidence nor the final court ruling.

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I’m glad, in my personal opinion ideas shouldn’t be patented, although sure they shouldn’t be stolen and ripped off but at the same time it’s very nice to have different variations on the same idea without somebody getting pissed off and trying to control something
 

Mama Looigi

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So really only fans have won for controller-remafter Nintendo issues so far.
I mean, with stuff like the joy-con drifting and that one incident after they released Mario Party (with the blisters and whatnot).

And the there’s major companies attempting to sue for stuff like this and the whole wiimote issue all end up failing eventually.
 
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So really only fans have won for controller-remafter Nintendo issues so far.
I mean, with stuff like the joy-con drifting and that one incident after they released Mario Party (with the blisters and whatnot).

And the there’s major companies attempting to sue for stuff like this and the whole wiimote issue all end up failing eventually.
are you talking about the thing where they had to give out gloves?
 

Stealphie

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I’m glad, in my personal opinion ideas shouldn’t be patented, although sure they shouldn’t be stolen and ripped off but at the same time it’s very nice to have different variations on the same idea without somebody getting pissed off and trying to control something
It's like triying to copyright a genre, like Reaction








oh
 
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raxadian

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I am on Nintendo side this time, is not like wireless controllers are something new, they have existed for many decades.
 

FAST6191

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Suck it, patent trolls!
Were they patent trolls?

I am still not sure as to the merits of various patents involved (though I very much doubt there is not all the prior art and obviousness going against them, even if they are something the US patent office seems to struggle with) these guys seem like a legit company actually making products (and not just a token line to say they do), and most such troll companies don't appeal rulings either (it is a rather expensive hobby).
Patent trolls generally tend to be those that do nothing, buy up random patents from failed start ups, random inventors or patent obvious stuff and then try to extract a "please just go away" payment from companies aware that litigation is an expensive endeavour. This seems well within the realms of actual grievance.
 

gamesquest1

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I wonder if Nintendo will counter sue for copying their original famicom design, I mean that had 2 controllers that clip on either side of the game device (joking of course before someone takes it serious, I guess the Intellivision did the idea first anyway....although I reserve the right to be incorrect and there was something else with the same design concept before even that)
 

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Were they patent trolls?

I am still not sure as to the merits of various patents involved (though I very much doubt there is not all the prior art and obviousness going against them, even if they are something the US patent office seems to struggle with) these guys seem like a legit company actually making products (and not just a token line to say they do), and most such troll companies don't appeal rulings either (it is a rather expensive hobby).
Patent trolls generally tend to be those that do nothing, buy up random patents from failed start ups, random inventors or patent obvious stuff and then try to extract a "please just go away" payment from companies aware that litigation is an expensive endeavour. This seems well within the realms of actual grievance.
iirc, they filed suit around the time when the Switch became a massive success in the gaming market being sold out of shelves everywhere. It would make people think that Gamevice filed suit to make some money off of the Switch's success.
 

FAST6191

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iirc, they filed suit around the time when the Switch became a massive success in the gaming market being sold out of shelves everywhere. It would make people think that Gamevice filed suit to make some money off of the Switch's success.
You generally do try to collect against a party that will pay (get a million dollar judgement against me and good luck collecting on that one, Nintendo will probably have it in the bank or insurance policy) and when you can demonstrate substantial damages if you do win (a company doing well thanks to your patent, or at least with your infringed patent being almost inextricably part of the system, being a good example. Someone that sold an infringing product out of a single grocery store in nowhere, middle of probably less likely to win you good money and cover your costs.).
 

The Real Jdbye

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I'm not a lawyer, but calling clip-on controllers "unpatentable", considering all the way dumber shit that gets patented, seems a bit arbitrary.

My conclusion is the same as the court's, but my reasoning is different.
I would say the devices seem different enough that they were probably independently developed, and moreover, probably not similar enough to be infringing.

Gamevice has a flexible back piece which permanently connects the halves together as a single unit, and the phone or tablet slots into it. It can only be used in this mode, it doesn't have a battery or a wireless connection.

The JoyCons are two completely independent controllers, with their own batteries and BT transceivers, they can be used wired similar to the Gamevice, but they can also be used independently wirelelessly as two controllers, or as a pair by one player, or slotted into a holder to be used as a more traditional controller. Even if Nintendo got the idea from Gamevice they have expanded on it to such a degree that it could no longer be considered anything more than vaguely similar.

Now, I don't know what exactly Gamevice's patent was, it's possible it was broad/generic enough to cover the JoyCons. And in those cases, the case usually ends up dismissed for the reason that the patent is simply too broad, effectively rendering the patent invalid. It's not exactly what I would consider "unpatentable" but maybe that is what is meant here.
I wonder if Nintendo will counter sue for copying their original famicom design, I mean that had 2 controllers that clip on either side of the game device (joking of course before someone takes it serious, I guess the Intellivision did the idea first anyway....although I reserve the right to be incorrect and there was something else with the same design concept before even that)
I think the early Pong consoles did the same so it was hardly a new idea.
 
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FAST6191

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I'm not a lawyer, but calling clip-on controllers "unpatentable", considering all the way dumber shit that gets patented, seems a bit arbitrary.

My conclusion is the same as the court's, but my reasoning is different.
I would say the devices seem different enough that they were probably independently developed, and moreover, probably not similar enough to be infringing.
In UK patent law that defence would likely be one called the gillette defence, actually a pretty notable one.

As far as unpatentable goes then the US is still technically in line with most of the world (give or take software *spits* and some the genetics patents, possibly also "business methods" but I know less of that one and it seldom applies to anything talked about around here). It just seems the USPTO kind of skips obviousness (or at least has incredibly low bar for novelty) and prior art is mostly "is there another patent with this in it?" and have the courts figure it out (all the US cases I have read dealing with patent destruction and other attacks on validity tend to be of a level with anything I see in the UK or elsewhere) rather than the stuff we see in Europe (or indeed most places that are not the US) where the examiners are often something like subject matter experts (I applied to some a while back and there were really after high end science and engineering training even for entry level stuff) which will do obviousness at point of application/consideration and have prior art be the whole field (including basic textbooks on a subject) as opposed to just existing patents, all of which mean we see far less "have the courts figure it out".
Or to do more basic the general test is would someone skilled in the art (as opposed to man on the street or reasonable person like in many other legal phrasings) come up with that idea to solve the problem? If so then it is not a novel thing. This also says nothing about prior art and there are plenty of controllers remote from the device that can be returned to a holder either for different modes of play or in general but still function.

Equally in the US one of the main methods of defence in general is to have a folder of your own equally obvious patents so if someone pulls the trigger on a case you return the favour, and then you both end up with huge fines, possibly products in limbo and equally impressive bills from your lawyers. Ultimately crappy patents might get shot down but it takes a fair bit of effort to do it so you collect them as well, to say nothing of having it means you might not then see it used against you when Johnny just got a java school certificate and managed to patent something everybody thought obvious.
 
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AbyssalMonkey

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Equally in the US one of the main methods of defence in general is to have a folder of your own equally obvious patents so if someone pulls the trigger on a case you return the favour, and then you both end up with huge fines, possibly products in limbo and equally impressive bills from your lawyers.
Patent MADness. I love it. That sounds hilarious.
 
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anhminh

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It not like they lose anything for losing to Nintendo anyway so it just the normal "sue everything for a chance of settlement" scheme.
 
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