On May 14 Nintendo of America, Inc. was ordered to pay Anascape, Ltd. $21 million for infringement of Anascape’s patents in designing its Wii Classic, WaveBird and Gamecube controllers.

Anascape also sued Microsoft for infringement.  Anascape and Microsoft, however, settled On May 1st just prior to the start of the trial against Nintendo.

Anascape alleged that the console manufacturers infringed on a dozen of its patents granted between 1999 and 2005 dealing with analog sensors, tactile feedback, and vibration mechanisms.  The patents at issue are the following:

#5,999,084 “Variable Conductance Sensor”
#6,102,802 “Game Controller with Analog Pressure Sensor”
#6,135,886, “Variable Conductance Sensor with Elastomeric Dome Cap”
#6,208,271 “Remote Controller with Analog Button”
#6,222,525 “Image Controller with Sheet Connected Sensors”
#6,343, 991 “Game Control with Analog Pressure Sensor”
#6,344,791 “Variable Sensor with Tactile Feedback”
#6,347,997 “Analog Controls Housed with Electronic Displays”
#6,351,205 “Variable Conductance Sensor”
#6,400, 303 “Remote Controller with Analog Pressure Sensor”
#6,563,415 “Analog Sensor with Snap Through Tactile Feedback”
#6,906,700 “3D Controller with Vibration

We represent a number of video game publishers and developers both in the United States and abroad from our offices in Chicago Illinois.  One of the basic issues we emphasize to our video game clients is the need to conduct proper due diligence when developing products. Understanding the risks associated with choosing a particular product configuration or technology just makes good business sense. Conducting prior art searches, trademark searches and securing the opinion of counsel, while expensive, is certainly less expensive than being hit with a $21 million judgment and paying the associated legal fees involved.

Original Gamespot story detailing the filing of the suit located here.

Chicago Tribune story located here.

Copy of the complaint located here.