Nintendo claims victory in Wii patent lawsuit

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

San Francisco (CA) - A US District Court judge has summarily dismissed a patent-infringement lawsuit brought by Guardian Media Technologies against Nintendo's Wii.

"We are very pleased with the Court's decision," said Rick Flamm, Nintendo's general counsel. "Nintendo vigorously defends patent lawsuits. At the earliest stages of this case, Nintendo convinced the Court to dismiss this case as Guardian's patent had nothing to do with Nintendo's products."

Indeed, the USPTO descibes patent 4,930,158 as follows: "A classification code, recorded repeatedly along with program material, is recovered on playing a video recording, and used to inhibit replay if the recovered code matches any of a set of codes specified by the user. The codes which cause replay to be inhibited can be set by the user after entering a personal identity number. The user can optionally request that a code be recorded when recording a program. Signals are optionally provided so that an auxiliary device, such as a second video player, can be controlled in response to codes recovered. One application is to prevent children viewing certain video recordings without parental permission."

Although the Wii is equipped with parental control functions, it is nontheless difficult to understand why Guardian Media believed a video programming patent would cover a console gaming system.

Nintendo's latest victory follows the successful conclusion of a legal dispute with Fenner Technologies over Wii and Gamecube peripherals. The company also sued Nyko for selling a device similar to the Wii's Nunchuk. The Nunchuk case, which was settled in late 2008, resulted in Nyoko manufacturing a redesigned version of its Kama wireless controller.