December 11, 2006 9:44 AM PST

Is the 'Wiimote' a patent violator?

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Nintendo cautions gamers on Wii remote safety

December 7, 2006
Nintendo of America has been sued by Interlink Electronics over alleged patent infringement in its Wii console's remote control.

Interlink, a Los Angeles-based company specializing in remote controls and electronic-signature technology, filed suit in a federal district court in Delaware on December 4, claiming that Nintendo's Wii Remote violates its "Trigger Operated Electronic Device" patent (U.S. patent No. 6,850, 221). Interlink claimed that Nintendo's sale of the device, nicknamed the Wiimote, has caused the company to lose profits and royalties.

Nintendo's Wii console, which was released with much fanfare November 17, has gained both positive buzz and notoriety for the Wii Remote. The contoller enables players to physically interact with the game--swinging it like a bat in a baseball game or holding it like a gun in a shooting game, for example.

Until this point, much of the Wiimote controversy has revolved around its tendency to smash into things. But now that a lawsuit has been filed, problems for Nintendo may escalate far beyond the level of YouTube-documented mishaps.

Neither company was immediately available for comment.

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23 comments

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Patent is junk and "tendency" is a joke
The patent is junk. Nintendo had a trigger device for Duck Hunt and the N64 Z button.

The tendency for the Wiimote to fly around is because people are stupid and don't follow directions. If they would put the wrist strap on as they are instructed, and if they were not so ridiculous as to throw the Wiimote so hard when they do have the strap on that it does snap the strap, they would not have the issues.

As far as sweaty palms making the controller slick, they should buy the silicon gloves like my wife and I did.
Posted by patkohler (34 comments )
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not to mention
That the games warn you to make sure nothing breakable or another player is too close to you. And most of the damage is caused by overexertion while playing.
Posted by techguy83 (295 comments )
Link Flag
How the wiimote affect them??
It's not possible that the wiimote affect their sales, because the wiimote only works with the wii, and their remote... well I'don't know why it was made.

Patents should be prohibited, many "companies" dedicate their efforts to patent thing they never are going to create or sell just to have and wait when someone else (a real entrepreneur) produces it.
Posted by jarturof (118 comments )
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Here's How
"It's not possible that the wiimote affect their sales"

Yes it does affect their sales. Interlink would sell their (supposedly) patented product every time that someone buys a Wii or a separate Wii-mote. That's what licensing and royalty payments are all about.

--mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
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Patent does not apply to Wiimote
A monkey could figure out that this patent doesn' apply to the Wiimote!

To quote the patent, "There is an infra-red output signal transmitted to a receiver for operating the computer." The Wiimote is not an infrared device! It's RF. Big difference!

And that's even if you go so far as to allow such a simple concept to be patented at all!
Posted by ddesy (4336 comments )
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You're completely wrong
Obviously you don't know what you're talking about:

The wiimote is not RF but Bluetooth AND uses IR
The Sensor bar has 4 IR LED that emit a signal picked up by the wiimote (wich help locating the wiimote position) wich is then transmitted via BT to the Wii

2ยข
Posted by MultipleParadox (1 comment )
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IR . . . hmmmmmm
I believe the Wii uses BOTH RF and IR. The set-top sensor and the
transmitter on the Wii remote seem to work via IR for targeting and
pointing.
Posted by Mr. Dogers2U (65 comments )
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Interlink is just jealous
If you go to their site and search for trigger you will see the picture of a poorly designed, uncomfortable device that in NO way resembles a Wii-mote. Furthermore if you check their stock they had a sharp decline just before the start of the year which makes me wonder if they are just looking for some publicity. After any publicity is good publicity, right?

I just can't believe they have nothing better to do. What a joke.
Posted by setheck (4 comments )
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Not the same as Wiimote
I had this item for my computer. While it is wireless it does not move the pointer when the device is moved. It has a "nub" analog similar to the nub on a notebook computer. That analog "nub" is responsible for the movement of the pointer onscreen, whereas the Wiimote pointer moves in parallel with the controller.
Posted by nitewatch (27 comments )
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Another Reason To Ban All Patents
They serve no purpose except for unethical hording of ideas and to enable patent trolls to enrich themselves with no intention of actually making the inventions they claim they've thought of first.

Copyright law should be the only method of protecting an invention, that is copyrighting an actual product that you actually make.

Patents are a crock and the whole system should be scrapped.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
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It's very unlikely that Interlink will get a court date
This isn't the first controller made by Nintendo that uses IR. We all remember playing Duck Hunt and if the Wiimote the same aiming method as the gun did, there is no case.

Most likely, Nintendo used their old IR technology for aiming, while they use the bar sensor to locate the Wiimote in 3-D space.
Posted by aka_tripleB (2211 comments )
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Not IR
I dont think the duck hunt gun was IR, there was no IR emitter. Just optical, look up at my previous explanation.
Posted by rickybscs (4 comments )
Link Flag
Power Glove
Am I the only one that had one of these for the Nintendo? You had to place a frame of sensors around the TV and wore a glove on your hand that allowed you to control the action on the screen.

That sounds like prior art to me.
Posted by drew30319 (13 comments )
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RE: PowerGlove
Sounds like it was a total failure to me.
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
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Is criticising/suing Nintendo a crime?
Upon reading childish Nintendo fanboys comments, one can only conclude the usual: whoever criticises or sues Nintendo, regardless of being right or not, must be stupid, idiotic and be jealous of them, because Nintendo is always right and does no harm to anyone.
Any open-minded person knows not only the Wiimote may perfectly infringe on patents, but also it's no novelty, as Microsoft introduced this technology more than 10 years ago with its SideWinder controllers (and they gave up for some reason, get it?).
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
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parasitic frustration
no, it is obviously not a crime to critisize or sue Nintendo. rather, it IS that many people are bloody tired of seeing opportunistic lawsuits bought against a successful product and/or company. for the moment, this appears to be what the plaintiff is doing. maybe we'll find out, during evidential discovery (if this ever goes to court), that Nin is genuiunely violating the patent. but given the recent spate of IP suits based upon the tiniest of similarities, AND the fortuitous timing of this (for the plaintiff), the burden of proof is significant. especially in the court of public opinion.
Posted by jaymes232 (1 comment )
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