Nintendo are currently in their second legal battle with the company Gamevice, a peripheral manufacturer for the Smartphone and Tablet market who are currently suing Nintendo with claims that the Nintendo Switch and Joy-Con controllers are infringing the patents they hold. The main complaint is that the design and function of the Switch and the Joy-Cons infringes on their patent of a controller peripheral that attaches and detaches from a portable game device.
Gamevice are attempting to actively block the importation of the Switch into the United States by lodging a complaint to the District Court for the Northern District of California. In the lawsuit Gamevice is claiming that Nintendo is infringing on the patent of their portable controllers for the smart device market, Gamevice attempted to sue Nintendo last year with allegations that the Switch was a clone of their Wikipad gaming device as seen below.
The lawsuit alleges that the hardware designed and manufactured by Nintendo is a direct clone of the equipment that they have patented for use with the mobile gaming market, consisting of “a pair of control modules, each control module of the pair of control modules interacting with a corresponding confinement structure of the pair of confinement structures” the “control modules” refer to the Joy-Con controllers and the “confinement structures” referring to the rails that the controllers slot into on the Switch.
If successful with this lawsuit Gamevice are looking to block all importation and sale of the Nintendo Switch and the corresponding peripherals that go along with the system within the United States, this claim of infringement may be a tactic by the plaintiff to get a paid settlement from Nintendo or try to arrange a deal that results in a percentage of all sales of the Switch from the judgement forward like previous lawsuits that have occured in the past.
One speculated possibility if the courts do rule in favour of Gamevice is that Nintendo will cease production of the current model of the switch and release a solid state unit without the ability to detach the mounted controllers, if this does occur there will be an increased cost to the consumer with the pro controller being a requirement to play the system attached to a television, while also rendering a lot of the motion control features In games useless if Nintendo were to cease the production of the Joy-Con controllers in order to avoid paying a royalty to Gamevice.
This is just speculation though as I believe that this lawsuit against Nintendo has no merit given the fact that the Switch with its Joy-Con controllers is proprietary console hardware independent of any other market, with the Joy-Con controllers also featuring additional hardware that the Gamevice devices do not contain such as the IR sensor and the HD Rumble functionality. The equipment patented by Gamevice lacks any of these features and is designed for use with multiple devices which are not primarily designed for use as video game systems.
If you wish to read the claim for yourself and make your own decision then you may find the claim linked below.
Owner of Silver Soul Gaming, writer, and podcast host, Silver is a disabled gamer that utilizes her passion for the industry and skills to write to find purpose.