While Nintendo’s console/portable hybrid, Switch, selling over 17 million units and creating several hit games for Nintendo, it might be infringing on some patents.
Gamevice, which makes attachable controllers for iOS and Android phones and tablets, has filed a complaint claiming the importation of Switch consoles into American shores infringes on its patents. The U.S. International Trade Commission, which is investigating the claim, specifically says it is looking into “certain portable gaming console systems with attachable handheld controllers and components,” which heavily implies this is the Swtich we’re talking about and not, say, the Wii or the Virtual Boy. The complaint hopes the ITC will issue a “limited exclusion” and cease and desist orders, effectively blocking imports of Switches into the States.
The ITC has not made a decision regarding the matter, and will make “a final determination at the earliest practicable time.”
This is not the first time Gamevice has taken issue with Nintendo’s new machine. Back in August, the company sued Nintendo for a very similar reason: That the Switch’s detachable “Joy-Con” controllers were too similar to its products. Nintendo won the suit.
Nintendo won the previous lawsuit, which doesn’t bode well for Gamevice’s complaint bearing any fruit. While I can’t deny the similarities between the two products, a third-party peripheral that’s simply compatible with modern phones a consoles/controllers specifically built for each other seem different enough. I’m no patent lawyer or expert, though.
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