Nintendo Guilty of Infringing on Inventor's 3D Tech Patent

On Wednesday, a federal jury in in U.S. District Court in Manhattan found Nintendo guilty of infringing on Seijiro Tomita's glasses-free 3D display technology with the launch of the Nintendo 3DS handheld system. The jury awarded Tomita a mere $30.2 million USD in compensatory damages.

Tomita, a 58-year-old former longtime Sony Corp employee, sued Nintendo and its U.S.-based unit in 2011 for patent infringement. He said that he's entitled to $9.80 for every 3DS Nintendo sold thus far, which would equal to $292,432,000 USD for 29.84 million units.

 According to opening statements made by Tomita's attorney, Joe Diamante, Tomita originally showed a prototype to seven Nintendo officials during a meeting in 2003. Three of those officials would later assist in the creation of the 3DS handheld.

However the defense attorney for Nintendo, Scott Lindvall, said the lawsuit was without merit because the 3DS ships without key aspects to Tomita's patent. He also said the 2003 meeting was one of many Nintendo had with merchants selling 3D technology.

But the jury didn't buy the defense, and found Nintendo liable. "We are thankful to the jurors for their diligence and hard work," Diamante said. "It has been a honor to represent Mr. Tomita and to protect his invention."

Later Nintendo offered a brief statement, acknowledging the verdict and saying it won't have any impact on 3DS unit sales.

"Nintendo is confident that the result will be set aside," Nintendo stated on Wednesday. "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."

"The Tomita patent did not relate to the 3D games playable on the Nintendo 3DS," the Mario company added.

 

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  • slabbothis is complete and utter BS from a patent troll mixed in with an incompetent justice system. Nintendo met with several tech companies looking for glasses free 3D screens and went with the tech from Sharp. The implementations are totally different from this other guy's company. Also, it's not even Nintendo's technology it's Sharp's. Nintendo is just buying Sharp's screens for use on their 3DS. So he shouldn't even be suing Nintendo; he should be suing Sharp if there is any patent issues.



    I dunno this time it does seem more credible. This guy not only works in the field but also approached Nintendo with it before hand. This isn't just some random guy who got a patent and attempted to just sit on it. This appears to be a perfectly legitimate case from what Kevin shared in this article.
    12
  • The way the law works in the U.S. and similar countries, generally speaking, is that if you have evidence that you invented something and applied for a patent, then anyone who cannot also prove that they invented the same thing on their own cannot capitalize on your invention.

    Whether Nintendo stole the technology or not is not relevant. They cannot prove that they did not steal it by providing proof that they invented it. The patent system is kind of backwards, but necessarily so. You can be guilty of theft until you can prove otherwise. The law is designed to protect and reward those with innovative ideas and keep others from capitalizing on an idea that they did not come up with.
    10
  • Other Comments
  • this is complete and utter BS from a patent troll mixed in with an incompetent justice system. Nintendo met with several tech companies looking for glasses free 3D screens and went with the tech from Sharp. The implementations are totally different from this other guy's company. Also, it's not even Nintendo's technology it's Sharp's. Nintendo is just buying Sharp's screens for use on their 3DS. So he shouldn't even be suing Nintendo; he should be suing Sharp if there is any patent issues.
    -3
  • The way the law works in the U.S. and similar countries, generally speaking, is that if you have evidence that you invented something and applied for a patent, then anyone who cannot also prove that they invented the same thing on their own cannot capitalize on your invention.

    Whether Nintendo stole the technology or not is not relevant. They cannot prove that they did not steal it by providing proof that they invented it. The patent system is kind of backwards, but necessarily so. You can be guilty of theft until you can prove otherwise. The law is designed to protect and reward those with innovative ideas and keep others from capitalizing on an idea that they did not come up with.
    10
  • slabbothis is complete and utter BS from a patent troll mixed in with an incompetent justice system. Nintendo met with several tech companies looking for glasses free 3D screens and went with the tech from Sharp. The implementations are totally different from this other guy's company. Also, it's not even Nintendo's technology it's Sharp's. Nintendo is just buying Sharp's screens for use on their 3DS. So he shouldn't even be suing Nintendo; he should be suing Sharp if there is any patent issues.



    I dunno this time it does seem more credible. This guy not only works in the field but also approached Nintendo with it before hand. This isn't just some random guy who got a patent and attempted to just sit on it. This appears to be a perfectly legitimate case from what Kevin shared in this article.
    12