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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codezer0

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At one end, it is entirely possible that the gamevice did indeed start their process earlier than Nintendo, who could afford to strong-arm the patent through the (flawed) system.

On another, let's be real, phones made nowadays have zero battery life and games for phones are all about how many lootboxes and ads they can cram in every millimeter of screen space they can use, and not about actually being playable or fun. And back when there were games that justified such controllers being made, the majority of smartphones had the slide out keyboards as a feature so you could somewhat approximate the controls needed for such things.
 

vincentx77

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If this were the other way around Nintendo would've sued them out of existence. There's a part of me that wishes Gamevice had won at least some patent right in this case. I think the lack of bluetooth really did hurt them. It also doesn't help that the GameVice doesn't fit newer iphones (at least, without risking screen damage). I hope this does ensure that someone else could make a console with detachable controllers in the future. PSP3 anyone?
 

Pipistrele

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On a sidenote, gamevice is a pretty bad name for a game device - it sounds like something that will crush my phone if I use it long enough.
 

raxadian

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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.

They also just filled patents, I haven't hear about them actually selling any controllers for tablets thing.
 

FAST6191

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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.
Court cases are not cheap things to file.

While I maintain these guys were not trolls then as a rough idea of a cost of such hobbies https://techcrunch.com/2019/11/05/cloudflare-beat-a-patent-troll-what-now/ and with appeals that is not going to go down. Such things were filed, or at least and injunction sought, in 2018 as well and while it is probably not court appearance fees ever since as things move fairly slow they were likely still getting a bill or three.

They also just filled patents, I haven't hear about them actually selling any controllers for tablets thing.
https://www.amazon.com/Gamevice-Controller-iPhone-Plus-Model/dp/B016GNXJG6/ has them first listed in late 2015, and far from their only product on the platform, several of which have a few hundred reviews (much akin to their competition).

Press wise they have been getting it from big sites since at least 2014, and consistently ever since
https://appleinsider.com/articles/1...-controller-for-iphone-debuts-in-apple-stores
https://www.polygon.com/2015/12/8/9871378/gamevice-hands-on-video
https://www.neowin.net/news/gamevice-brings-physical-controls-to-the-ipad-and-ipad-pro/
and the list goes on.

To that end a charge of fly by night company is not one I would easily make.
 

Daggot

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Companies had controllers like this for phones and tablets before the switch was even conceptualized IIRC. If everyone who makes these types of controllers gets sued it'll be a sad day.
 

FAST6191

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Does the name "Gamevice" have any reputation to the average person, or for that matter the average gamer?
Looking at what they have made in the past they do seem able to make controllers (they don't look like rebadged OEM stuff from a factory somewhere). To that end future PR could be an issue if someone says "hey weren't they the ones that sued Nintendo for silly reasons?".

As far as average gamer, or subset of them, then I would not be surprised even without this lawsuit. They have several devices and have got articles and videos in the gaming and mobile devices press over several years now, being among the earlier "successful" attempts at such things (I am not counting the "3 emulators and this port we made of a boring game" era for these purposes). The quality of their products seems somewhat middling (that or making a controller cover type thing is fraught with difficulty if you are not spending all the money -- the lack of stiffness alone of most viable plastics probably making it feel meh.
Still if you are into gaming and have an apple device (which does represent quite a few of the kids these days) and they do some android stuff as well then it is reasonable to have heard of them (possibly even the same level you might know mad catz within such circles).
 
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Bladexdsl

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no wonder they lost. it's just a shitty cheap 3d printed POS plastic that attaches to your phone. it's nothing like the joy cons for start you can't get drift with these! :creep:
 
Last edited by Bladexdsl,

Ciphray

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There's been bluetooth and usb controllers that held onto your phone with an arm or similar attachments since well before any of this companies devices existed like the iControlpad or the Moga.

But people can patent just about anything, then the lawyers and courts can make money off companies and people fighting it out, and then you end up with the judge deciding what the patent office should have known all along, that it wasn't something that should have been granted to begin with.
 
Last edited by Ciphray,
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