Nintendo, Microsoft sued over controller patents

Written by Brett Thomas

August 4, 2006 | 15:02

Tags: #controller #lawsuit #patent #wii

Companies: #microsoft #nintendo

"Everything's bigger in Texas," they always say. Apparently, that goes for lawsuits, too. Yes, another day, another suit in the gaming industry, but it's rare to see ones quite this bold. Anascape Ltd, an electronics firm based out of the longhorn state, has sued both Nintendo and Microsoft for a patent infringement or ten.

The suit hails from patents made by Anascape in 1999 (and later) for controller technologies. The unusual thing is that many of these technologies had been in the business since previous to 1999, as they were featured on Sony's original "Dual Shock" controller. A short bit of research into this has not revealed Anascape licensing the controller designs to Sony beforehand, so it is unclear how they have changed Sony's original design enough to deserve their own patent years after.

However, as we didn't issue the patents, we'll leave questioning their legitimacy up to the courts. But here's a rundown on some of the infringements:
  • Patent 5,999,084 - "Variable Conductance Sensor" (pressure sensitivity)
  • Patent 6,102,802 - "Game Controller with Analog Pressure Sensor"
  • Patent 6,135,886 - "Variable Conductance Sensor with Elastomeric Dome Cap"
  • Patent 6,208,271 - "Remote Controller with Analog Button"
  • Patent 6,344,791 - "Variable Sensor with Tactile Feedback"

You get the idea. There are actually a few more named in the suit, so feel free to head over to the Inquirer if you're that curious. One can be sure that if the suit pans out, Anascape is about to be a very rich company. The only question that remains is, who wants to claim they own the design to the original XBox controller?!

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