Nintendo is no stranger to patent infringement cases. It seems like every console generation, some company pops-up, claiming that a creation of Nintendo's infringes on their own design. This generation, the company is Gamevice, a peripheral developer that has filed a patent infringement claim alleging that the Nintendo Switch design infringes on their patent for "attachable handheld controllers." Gamevice's controller device is called the "Wikipad," and it's basically a shell controller that wraps around an iPhone. Gamevice's claim seeks millions in damages, as well as a halt on all imports of the Nintendo Switch in America, where Gamevice holds the patent.
While this news might seem a bit worrisome for fans of Nintendo's handheld hybrid, it should be pointed out that this is actually the second time Gamevice has attempted to halt sales of the Nintendo Switch. In 2017, the company brought forward a case citing 19 patents Nintendo allegedly infringed on. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board dismissed that claim in March, but Gamevice is appealing the ruling, and has brought forward a new case.
In the company's filing, Gamevice claims that the Nintendo Switch has caused "irreparable injury to Gamevice." Of course, it makes sense that the first ruling was dismissed. Despite some surface similarities, there are a number of stark differences between the Nintendo Switch and the Wikipad. The Wikipad is little more than a shell that wraps around an iPhone. There are no dedicated games for the device, and the two products are marketed towards different consumers. The Nintendo Switch design is also clearly an evolution of the company's previous gaming console, the Wii U.0comments
It's hard to imagine what Gamevice's strategy is here, given how unlikely it seems that the company will find success with the patent infringement case. Regardless, it's hard not to see the success of the Nintendo Switch as a catalyst for this type of patent claim. The console has proven massively successful for Nintendo, and that level of success always inspires these types of claims. At the end of the day, the case will likely take some time before another decision is made (the previous case was filed in 2017), but it seems highly unlikely that a decision will be made in Gamevice's favor.
What do you think about Gamevice's patent infringement claim? Are you concerned about what the the Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision will be? Let us know in the comments or share directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!