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Monday, 23 June 2014 11:55

Nintendo took the Wii from Philips

Written by Nick Farrell

Loses patent case

Nintendo has lost an important court case in the UK against Philips, over the motion and gesture tracking technology used in its Wii game console.

Philips claims that Nintendo nicked technology on three of its patents with its designs for the Wii and Wii U motion controllers. The patents describe a "method and apparatus for controlling the movement of a virtual body" and a "user interface system based on a pointing device".

Philips has also filed four lawsuits in Germany, France and the US. This is the first one to receive a judgement. Judge Colin Birss said that common general knowledge did not include a device combining a physical motion sensor with a camera and the reasons advanced by Nintendo for putting those two sensors together in one unit are unconvincing.

The move could gut profits that Nintendo made from its Wii console. Arguably the best feature of the Wii was its motion control system, after all no one came for the graphics.

Nintendo plans to appeal the High Court's decision, claiming that Philips' patents for recognising hand gestures and motion are invalid.

The company said in a press statement that Nintendo was committed to ensuring that this judgment does not affect continued sales of its highly acclaimed line of video game hardware, software and accessories and will actively pursue all such legitimate steps as are necessary to avoid any interruptions to its business.

Philips spokesman Bjorn Teuwsen told Reuters that the company has been trying to come to a licencing agreement with Nintendo since 2011 without success.

Nick Farrell

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