Nintendo Guilty of 3D Patent Infringement


By Samantha Simmons

Bad news for Nintendo, but good news for all you inventors out there.

Nintendo was found guilty by a federal jury in New York for patent infringement Wednesday. The 3D technology used in the Nintendo 3DS was not Nintendo’s technology, but rather a development by inventor Seijiro Tomita. The technology was used without Seijiro’s permission, and in turn, Nintendo will owe $30.2 million in compensatory damages. Ouch!

Tomita, 58, is a former employee of Sony Corp. According to Nintendo’s defense lawyers, key aspects of Tomita’s development were left out of the 3DS display performance, thus Nintendo did not consider it an infringement. The jury however, disagreed.

“We are thankful to the jurors for their diligence and hard work,” Joe Diamante, Tomita’s defense lawyer said in an e-mail after the verdict. “It has been a honor to represent Mr. Tomita and to protect his invention.”

In a statement released to IGN, Nintendo responded to the verdict:

“A jury awarded $30.2 million in damages to Tomita Technologies in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Tomita against Nintendo. The Tomita patent did not relate to the 3D games playable on the Nintendo 3DS. The trial was held in U.S. District Court in New York before Judge Jed Rakoff.

Nintendo is confident that the result will be set aside. The jury’s verdict will not impact Nintendo’s continued sales in the United States of its highly acclaimed line of video game hardware, software and accessories, including the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others.”

So Nintendo had a bad day, but luckily this won’t be affecting the Nintendo 3DS’s sales in the States. You can still pick up your  3DS system guilt-free (hey, Tomita was paid handsomely for his invention in the end, right?) and stay tuned to the Insider for games and reviews.