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The Wii Classic Controller found to infringe patents
Jury rules against Nintendo in patent lawsuit

Nintendo was ordered on Wednesday to pay $21M to Anascape, a small East Texas gaming company, for infringing on a patent for gaming controllers.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2006 by Anascape, which targeted both Microsoft and Nintendo for infringement of 12 patents issued between 1999 and 2005. Anascape sought compensation, including interest, from the revenues generated by both companies as a result of the claimed infringements.

A jury found that Nintendo had infringed on the Anascape patents in the design of the GameCube, WaveBird and Wii Classic controllers.

According to comments recorded by the Associated Press, Nintendo spokesman Charlie Scibetta said that the company will seek an appeal and hopes that the infringement award would be reduced significantly. No infringement was found with the motion-sensing scheme used on the Wii Remote or Nunchuk.

Microsoft avoided the jury ruling as it had settled with Anascape on terms that remain confidential.

While $21M may sound like a hefty sum, it’s not quite as painful as the $91 million Sony had to hand over to Immersion for its use of force feedback vibration technology. Sony and Immersion coming to an agreement then ruffled the feathers of Microsoft, who in turned launched its own legal complaint.

Sony, who was oddly not a part of the Anascape suit, recently launched its third-generation DualShock controller in North America.



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What was it?
By FITCamaro on 5/15/2008 9:38:47 AM , Rating: 2
What was the nature of the infringement?




RE: What was it?
By Fracture on 5/15/2008 9:51:45 AM , Rating: 4
Taken from the related link in the article (GameDaily.biz):

quote:
The patents seem to deal with almost every aspect of today's modern video game controller, such as analog controls, analog pressure sensors for buttons, vibration and tactile feedback, and more. One would think that Sony's PS2 controller would come into conflict with these patents as well, so it's not clear why Anascape has targeted Microsoft and Nintendo and has not included Sony in the suit.


RE: What was it?
By Locutus465 on 5/15/2008 9:55:46 AM , Rating: 2
When were these filed? It seems to me that game controllers have had these features almost since day 1... prior art here people?


RE: What was it?
By Marlin1975 on 5/15/2008 10:02:00 AM , Rating: 2
Thats why some believe they did not go after Sony as their PS2 controller came out right before these patents were filed.


RE: What was it?
By FITCamaro on 5/15/2008 10:11:48 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder why Sony didn't file for these patents.


RE: What was it?
By mholler on 5/15/2008 10:45:27 AM , Rating: 2
I guess it's possible that Sony licensed the technology beforehand whereas MS and Nintendo didn't. Or Sony may have settled out of court before the suite was filed. Pure conjecture of course.


RE: What was it?
By JonnyDough on 5/15/2008 1:42:52 PM , Rating: 2
You'd be amazed at the number of intellectual properties stolen every day from corporations because they fail to patent. I know someone that worked for Pfizer for 40 years designing drugs and he can tell you about the billions of dollars that are lost due to failure to patent research of technologies.


RE: What was it?
By AlphaVirus on 5/15/2008 10:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder if this is why Sony kept the remotes from PS1>PS2>PS3 all the same. Not exact, but 99% similar.


RE: What was it?
By Samus on 5/15/08, Rating: -1
RE: What was it?
By Locutus465 on 5/15/2008 1:07:47 PM , Rating: 3
Honestly.... I don't like the PS controller all that much, doesn't quite feel as natural in my hand as an x-box or even GC controller.


RE: What was it?
By omnicronx on 5/15/2008 1:11:47 PM , Rating: 4
The GC controller was my favorite, definatly the most ergonomic controller out there. I could play games for hours before my hands started to hurt.. The original xbox controller sucked though, it seemed like it was made for the hands of Shaquille O'Neal. I have normal sized fingers and I can not reach some of the buttons easily.


RE: What was it?
By Locutus465 on 5/15/2008 2:32:53 PM , Rating: 3
I never used anything other than S-Controllers and GameStop brand wireless controllers for my original x-box. The S-Controller was a comfertable size though a little bit, the game stop one was very nice, but lacked rumble.

For the 360 I have no issues with the standard microsoft comtroller, it's comfertable.

Addressing another posters idea's about ergonomics.... What you said doesn't change the fact that for me the PS controller is awkward. Where I have the biggest issues is with reaching the front buttons, I don't know... It just doesn't work for me.


RE: What was it?
By Sulphademus on 5/16/2008 9:24:56 AM , Rating: 2
The original Xbox controller being a direct rip of the Dreamcast controller which was an evolution of their large analog controller for special use with the Saturn game Nights.

I think Sega beat Anascape to the analog punch. Even Sony had an analog controller for the PS1 (I still have mine). Both kinda predate the 1999-2005 patents.

Has anyone patented the concept of cars with two different types of motors in them? Or is Toyota making bank without challenge?


RE: What was it?
By afkrotch on 5/15/2008 1:35:27 PM , Rating: 2
If you put your fists next to each other, your thumbs also sit next to each other. One thumb doesn't sit higher up than the other thumb. Odd how Sony decided to put the analog sticks, that are used by your thumb, next to each other like that.

*sarcasm*


RE: What was it?
By acer905 on 5/19/2008 11:40:59 AM , Rating: 2
For me its easy to see why a gamecube style controller is better. I hate first person shooters, so for me even having a second analog stick is not necessary. So having one analog stick next to a set of buttons for primary controls, and below that secondary controls for games that need them makes more sense. Personally i think everyone should offer 2 sets of controllers. One designed for FPS games with 2 analog sticks in a primary position, and buttons in a secondary, and then one for every other game in the gamecube style


RE: What was it?
By otispunkmeyer on 5/15/2008 10:37:00 AM , Rating: 4
for my money, they shouldnt award patents to ideas that are incredibly simple and obvoius such as "controller with analogue button" i mean come on.

ask a 10 year old to design a game pad an thats what theyll come up with.


RE: What was it?
By gersson on 5/15/2008 11:50:53 AM , Rating: 2
"Remote Controller with Analog Button"

That's the one that stood out at me. WOW what a stupid patent.

We desperately need to rethink how the process works.


RE: What was it?
By wempa on 5/15/2008 12:25:01 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, these patents are getting more and more ridiculous. They seem WAY too broad. It makes me sick at what they'll allow for a patent nowadays. What's next ? Somebody will try to say that they own the patent for a video game console ???


RE: What was it?
By Generic Guy on 5/15/2008 12:36:51 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
for my money, they shouldnt award patents to ideas that are incredibly simple and obvoius such as "controller with analogue button" i mean come on.


It was Nintendo who resurrected the analog stick with the N64 controller.

And for that matter, I was playing with analog joysticks back in the 1980s with my Apple II, before discrete D-Pads became more popular.


RE: What was it?
By afkrotch on 5/15/2008 1:43:54 PM , Rating: 1
Wrong. Analog Joystick for PS1 was first. Then N64, then dual analog for PS1.


RE: What was it?
By neothe0ne on 5/15/2008 2:04:37 PM , Rating: 2
That's because Sony copied Nintendo. I'm surprised Nintendo doesn't counter-sue this no-name useless patent sitter and name Sony as a second defendant for infringing on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System's controller. Seriously, if this bullshit company can get awarded damages from Nintendo on the GameCube and Classic controllers, Nintendo can sue this company out of existence.


RE: What was it?
By afkrotch on 5/15/2008 2:28:42 PM , Rating: 2
Sue Sony for what exactly? They used analog joysticks before anyone else. Joysticks before the Playstation Analog Joystick were all digital. Their regular controllers have always used digital push buttons.


RE: What was it?
By Alexstarfire on 5/15/2008 3:50:12 PM , Rating: 2
No they didn't. I'm not gonna say anything more than: "you should do some research before spouting crap."


RE: What was it?
By sprockkets on 5/15/2008 4:59:39 PM , Rating: 2
Look at the ORIGINAL PS controllers, and you will see, they had NO analog controls on them. They came out with the dual shock controllers AFTER the N64 introduced the rumble pack and incorporated both features.

Same with the Sega Saturn, including the analog controller with the game called something with Nights in the name.

The analog joystick has been around forever, and they had buttons on them too.


RE: What was it?
By afkrotch on 5/16/2008 7:29:06 AM , Rating: 2
Playstation Analog Joystick. First analog controller. N64's controller came after that. After that was the PS1 Dual Analog and the Saturn's Analog. Dual Shock and N64s rumble came out at roughly the same time. Course Sony showcased the Dual Shock before Nintendo released any info on their rumblepak.


RE: What was it?
By Locutus465 on 5/16/2008 12:41:29 AM , Rating: 2
Are you freaking kidding me? You guys on this forum are really showing your age (or lack there of)... My Commodor 64 had a joystick which was analoge (i.e. analoge stick) and analoge buttons. The atari used the same joystick as my small black one... The idea's nintendo and microsoft are being sued over have been apart of gaming since the freaking 70's... I don't get how anyone could be stupid enough to award settlement for this kind of bs.


RE: What was it?
By afkrotch on 5/16/2008 7:33:15 AM , Rating: 2
Commodore 64 and Atari used a digital joystick. Apple, Amiga, and IBM were the first to use an analog joystick, but on a PC, not game console.


RE: What was it?
By Locutus465 on 5/16/2008 5:15:17 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, stand corrected there.. Regardless, this patent doesn't hold water...


RE: What was it?
By EATTHEAPPLE on 6/6/2008 2:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
You just broke my patent that I have for people applying common sense in any conversation including a blog. US Patent # 2855-7448


RE: What was it?
By jtemplin on 5/16/2008 11:49:56 AM , Rating: 2
FIT I did some digging just for you =D

Now we can decide for ourselves what is going on here.

Anascape, Ltd v. Microsoft Corp. et al
This link has everything you need to know about the case, including online copies of every filing.
http://news.justia.com/cases/featured/texas/txedce...

Direct link to the complaint:
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-cour...

Here is one of the patents. I am no expert in this stuff, so maybe this contains more than one of the patents as it is very long.
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PT...


RE: What was it?
By jtemplin on 5/16/2008 11:52:43 AM , Rating: 2
Enjoy these (Prior) Art Galleries!

Evolution of the Game Pad
http://www.gifford.co.uk/~coredump/gpad.htm

The 8-Bit Joystick Gallery
http://www.pelikonepeijoonit.net/articles/joystick...


So . . .
By phattyboombatty on 5/15/2008 9:37:20 AM , Rating: 5
What was the infringing feature on the Nintendo controllers? That's probably the number one question that everyone would want answered when they read this article, but the answer is curiously absent.




RE: So . . .
By SeeManRun on 5/15/08, Rating: 0
RE: So . . .
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/15/2008 9:43:15 AM , Rating: 2
I wasn't aware that the Nintendo Wii Classic controller even had vibration...

And did Wavebird have vibration?


RE: So . . .
By novacthall on 5/15/2008 9:52:56 AM , Rating: 2
You're right, and no.


RE: So . . .
By omnicronx on 5/15/2008 10:18:54 AM , Rating: 2
That classic controller looks almost exactly like the super nintendo controller minus the analogue pads.. if anything they copied Nintendo, I am suprised it was not brought up as you mentioned none of those controllers have a rumble feature, and it can't be a wireless thing because not all the controllers in question are wireless.


RE: So . . .
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/15/2008 9:39:51 AM , Rating: 2
Curiously, no one seems to know yet what the specific issue is.


RE: So . . .
By isorfir on 5/15/2008 9:47:10 AM , Rating: 2
Don't know if this source is reliable, but here is a list of the patents:

Patents infringed upon
Patent#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" (A different patent)
#6,400, 303 "Remote Controller with Analog Pressure Sensor" (A different patent)
#6,563,415 "Analog Sensor with Snap Through Tactile Feedback"
#6,906,700 "3D Controller with Vibration"

http://www.wiiloaded.com/archive/index.php/thread-...


RE: So . . .
By FITCamaro on 5/15/2008 10:10:42 AM , Rating: 5
Christ I hate patent troll companies who's sole business model is to sue other companies.


RE: So . . .
By omnicronx on 5/15/2008 10:21:25 AM , Rating: 2
I dont understand how someone can patent an anologue controller in 1995.. you would think the technology must have existed beforehand, with someone owning some kind of patent relating to it.


RE: So . . .
By Topweasel on 5/15/2008 10:31:56 AM , Rating: 2
You are correct. My dads favorite Nitendo controller specially for Top Gun the game was a covered controller that sat on one hand and had a analog stick at the top. Using that was about the only way I could land the Fighter.


RE: So . . .
By GreenEnvt on 5/15/2008 1:11:02 PM , Rating: 2
Oh man, Top gun. I bought an original NES just for that game after seeing it at a friends house.


RE: So . . .
By afkrotch on 5/15/2008 1:56:16 PM , Rating: 2
Can't sue someone who doesn't infringe on those patents. Like Sony for example. All Playstation controllers (PS1, PS2, PS3) has used digital buttons, not analog.


RE: So . . .
By Icelight on 5/15/2008 2:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
That's incorrect. I know for a fact the PS2 controller used analog buttons. (Not sure on the PS3 as I do not own one) If it didn't, games like Mad Maestro would have been designed very badly...as it relies on how hard you press the face buttons.


RE: So . . .
By afkrotch on 5/15/2008 2:34:38 PM , Rating: 2
Every button on the PS2 was a pressure sensitive digital button, minus start/select.


RE: So . . .
By akugami on 5/15/2008 2:08:41 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know about the PS3 but the PS2 controller has analogue buttons.


RE: So . . .
By afkrotch on 5/15/2008 2:39:37 PM , Rating: 2
The analog button wasn't on the PS1/PS2 controllers for nothing. Left off, the digital buttons weren't pressure sensitive. When turned on, they were.


RE: So . . .
By Alexstarfire on 5/15/2008 3:52:47 PM , Rating: 2
Even if that were true, how does Sony not violate this patent: #6,906,700 "3D Controller with Vibration"


RE: So . . .
By afkrotch on 5/16/2008 11:28:24 AM , Rating: 2
Because of the way the patent was written. Sony would have to have analog buttons to break the patent on the vibration, as the patent specifies on the type of controller.

So to violate said patent, Sony would also have to violate the other patents.


RE: So . . .
By The0ne on 5/15/2008 3:24:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, that how it was for me. Pretty useless article if you ask me. It's kinda like a 3rd person taking someone's else's work and leaving the key details out. I say this is poor journalism. At least summarize what is being cited in the other sources geez.


RE: So . . .
By Omega215D on 5/15/2008 4:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
The Wii Classic looks like an updated SNES controller from way back before 1999...


Classic?
By homerdog on 5/15/2008 10:11:40 AM , Rating: 3
Does anyone else find it a bit strange that the "classic" controller that was designed to mimic the controllers of past Nintendo systems infringes on a patent filed in 2006?




RE: Classic?
By FITCamaro on 5/15/2008 10:13:11 AM , Rating: 4
My question is how did a patent like this get approved in 2006 when the technology they mention has been in use for decades.


RE: Classic?
By afkrotch on 5/15/2008 2:05:11 PM , Rating: 2
Simple. It wasn't patented way back when. Who knows how some of these patents get through. I mean...check out these patents.

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PT...

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PT...

If you can think it up, you can patent it.


RE: Classic?
By Bender 123 on 5/15/2008 3:32:54 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I am going back to the drawing board on my new way to swing...I thought side to side was fun. Perhaps diagonal?


I vote we frag this patent holder
By dflynchimp on 5/15/2008 11:16:59 AM , Rating: 2
Face it, they could've sued any number of other companies based on their vague allegations. Thy chose Nintendo since it was making more money, and have more dough for they to skim off of. I'm frankly surprised that this held any water in court, let alone grant them $21mil. I hope Nintendo appeals this, or countersuits them (no idea on what grounds, but I'm rooting for the big N here)




RE: I vote we frag this patent holder
By Devo2007 on 5/15/2008 11:42:45 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed -- how about companies like Mad Catz and Saitek -- companies that have made console and/or PC gamepads with the same functions for years? Why would they not be included in this lawsuit?

Seems like someone saw the popularity of the Wii and decided to get even with Nintendo. Also, where's the N64 controller in this lawsuit? It had an analog stick too!


By omnicronx on 5/15/2008 12:48:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why would they not be included in this lawsuit?
You forget Microsoft settled on the matter beforehand, it seems like the companies targeted were those that added analogue sticks to their controllers after 1995. My guess is since the playstation already had a controller with this functionality they could not be included in the suit.(for reference the N64 had the first analogue controller and it was released in 1997, and we all know the Xbox is pretty recent. Who knows for sure though, only time will tell..


By afkrotch on 5/15/2008 1:58:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Seems like someone saw the popularity of the Wii and decided to get even with Nintendo. Also, where's the N64 controller in this lawsuit? It had an analog stick too!


Yes, they saw the big popularity of the Wii and sued before it was even out. Jeez, try reading the article before speaking.


By Reclaimer77 on 5/15/2008 1:42:30 PM , Rating: 3
I agree.

Who the hell is this company anyway ? Patent squatters, thats who. Besides that, how were they even granted a patent for technology thats been used for decades already ?

I hate companies like this. And please, don't say I'm some Wii fanboi. But this company had no means to even make a controller or a game console. They just filed a patent and waited for someone to sue. Companies like this actually HURT the consumer by driving up the price of products because of patent royalties they should never even have been granted. In the worse cases, products we could enjoy are never able to see the light of day because of these patent trolls.

$21 million ? Thats probably more than Anascape is worth all together ! This is absurd.

Not only should Nintendo counter sue, but they should arrange for this digitally braindead jury to have an " accident " of some kind and spare the rest of us from having to deal with them.


Sounds to me like...
By Bioniccrackmonk on 5/15/2008 10:15:29 AM , Rating: 2
We have another patent troll on our hands.

I wonder if anyone has patented the action of patent trolling as a source of income?




RE: Sounds to me like...
By five40 on 5/15/2008 11:50:43 AM , Rating: 2
No kidding. It seems like if you where a patent lawyer and had a handful of ideas you could pretty much make a living by patent trolling.


crazy.
By krwhite on 5/15/2008 12:31:56 PM , Rating: 2
It's an unfair ruling. That company wouldn't of ever made 22 million in it's life, let alone the differential damages. Who are they? We're all gamers and we've never actually heard of them.

The courts should be sued for this unfair ruling, which is targeting one entity of many. I'm glad to see this is one DT article where everyone agrees ;)




RE: crazy.
By Omega215D on 5/15/2008 4:17:53 PM , Rating: 2
We should sue Anascape for the sore thumbs we've all gotten using "their" controllers. =P


Patent Law
By Sureshot324 on 5/15/2008 5:02:59 PM , Rating: 2
There needs to be a government department dedicated to going through all the patents that get filed and declaring the ridiculous ones null and void. Patent judges that consistently give out stupid patents should be fired.




RE: Patent Law
By Regs on 5/16/2008 7:13:13 AM , Rating: 2
Or patent lawyers.

These people are as bad a domain squatters. They start some no name business, then patent something they'll never manufacture, and sit on it until someone infringes on it.

I hear actors in movies can't sing the "happy B-Day" song without paying royalties to a group of old ladies who copyrighted the song!!!!

If people continue to abuse the system, why can't they change it?


Get Your Dates Correct
By FluffStuff on 5/15/2008 11:44:37 PM , Rating: 2
For Chrissakes, folks, the N64 came out in America in September of 1996, meaning that Nintendo's analog control stick was released to the public in 1996, which means it was developed long before that. The Dual Shock first came out in 1998, just in time for MGS here in the States.

Was no one here actually living that history?




RE: Get Your Dates Correct
By afkrotch on 5/16/2008 11:02:32 AM , Rating: 2
Just cause the controller had an analog control stick, doesn't mean all the buttons were analog.


Civic duty
By wallijonn on 5/15/2008 12:06:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A jury found that Nintendo had infringed on the Anascape patents in the design of the GameCube, WaveBird and Wii Classic controllers.


A great example of why we shouldn't shirk our civic duty to serve on juries. When we are too busy trying to get out of it the people who end up serving aren't probably the most learned.

Can you imagine being questioned before hand by the prosecutor, "Have you ever played a console game?"?

"Yes," he/she answered.

"Excused!" the prosecutor screams.




triggers
By InsaneGain on 5/15/2008 7:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
I remember reading an article months ago about another American company suing Nintendo for violating its patent for the trigger button on the Wii game controllers. The jury trial was also being held in East Texas. Why are so many patent disputes handled by juries in East Texas??




By Integral9 on 5/19/2008 11:18:24 AM , Rating: 2
I'm so *pissed off* after reading this, I'm going back to sleep so I can try again on today.




Oh well...
By LatinMessiah on 5/20/2008 1:58:22 PM , Rating: 2
...so much for Wii profits.




"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation














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