May 27, 2018

Nintendo Is Investigated In The US for Alleged Switch Patent Infringement

04 May 2018, 12:01 | Sam Montgomery

Nintendo under investigation by USITC for possible patent infringement

Nintendo faces Switch patent infringement investigation in the US

Nintendo is under the gun again, with Gamevice this time filing a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (USITC) that alleges patent infringement by Nintendo. At least, this is the conclusion that can be drawn based on the fact that the lawsuit that the company lobbed at Nintendo was dropped shortly following its filing past year. Game Vice has asked the USITC to issue a limited exclusion cease and desist order against Nintendo, which would all but block the Switch from being sold in the United States. That dropped lawsuit didn't mean that Gamevice was giving up on its quest to get money out of Nintendo for patent licensing. While the Switch controllers attach only to the Switch console, the Gamevice patent has to do with controllers that attach to each side of its Wikipad gaming tablet and detachable controllers for third-party tablets. The ITC wants to examine "certain portable gaming console systems with attachable handheld controllers and components thereof" produced by Nintendo. If passed, ITC can keep Nintendo from importing Nintendo Switch consoles in the U.S. Though the Wikipad hasn't been produced for a few years at this point, Gamevice is still making detachable controllers for smartphones and tablets.

Now, it's worth pointing out that the matter of starting an investigation does not imply that the USITC believes there is any validity to the claims by Gamevice.

For instance, Nintendo's Joy-Cons still function when not attached to the console, house additional tech like HD rumble and an IR sensor, and are designed exclusively for the use with only the Nintendo Switch itself. Then following review and further investigation, the USITC itself will make a final determination on Gamevice's request for a cease and desist. As of press time, a decision has not been announced regarding "the merits of the case". The case will be assigned to an administrative law judge, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing.

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