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Nintendo Wins in Wii Patent Lawsuit

Looks as though Nintendo has emerged from the court halls, victorious in battle, its prized Wii technology slung over its shoulder, now safe and sound.

If there's one company that seems invulnerable to the effects of a troubled economy, it's Nintendo. Despite consumer penny pinching and industry layoffs, happy customers are lapping up DS handhelds and Wii consoles left and right as if conservers were handing over dollar bills by the shovels, adding to the ever-increasing mound of money building under the golden Nintendo throne. Even today, the coveted developer/publisher is shining brighter than a shimmering Shine as Mario and the gang trot out of the U.S. courts.

According to the company, a U.S. District Court judge summarily dismissed the patent-infringement lawsuit sparked by Fenner Investments Ltd. The lawsuit alleged that Nintendo inappropriately infringed on a 1998 patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,297,751) filed by Fenner. The patent supposedly covers a low-voltage joystick port interface that converts an analog joystick input into digital form easily read by machines. The lawsuit said that the Wii and GameCube controllers infringed on the patent.

However, given that Nintendo offered gamepads with analog sticks dating back to the Nintendo 64 console in 1996, the lawsuit seemed rather ludicrous. Apparently, Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas felt the same way, dismissing the case on Monday. He ruled that there was no need for a jury trial. Mama mia!

“We are very pleased with the court’s decision,” said Rick Flamm, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President, Legal & General Counsel. “Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others. We also vigorously defend patent lawsuits when we firmly believe that we have not infringed another party’s patent, despite the risks that this policy entails. I would like to express our sincere appreciation for the tireless efforts of our legal team, which represented us so well.”

Along with Nintendo, Fenner Investments also filed lawsuits against Sony and Microsoft regarding the same patent infringement. However, based on Monday's ruling, it's probably a given that those lawsuits will either be dropped or dismissed as well.