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Nintendo wins patent fight against company that sued over Switch design

Nintendo wins patent fight against company that sued over Switch design


Gamevice’s claims ruled ‘unpatentable’

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Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Nintendo has come out triumphant in a patent dispute with hardware developer Gamevice, which initially sued Nintendo for allegedly infringing on a patent for its gaming device, the Wikipad.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board invalidated a majority of the claims in Gamevice’s patent, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office website. According to the board, Nintendo showed substantial evidence that Gamevice’s claims were “unpatentable.”

Gamevice filed two separate lawsuits against Nintendo

Prior to the patent dispute, Gamevice filed two separate lawsuits against Nintendo. The first one was filed in August 2017, claiming the Switch was too similar to Gamevice’s Wikipad, though the lawsuit was dismissed a few months later. Gamevice would once again target Nintendo in March 2018 while also requesting the US International Trade Commission investigate Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers. However, the agency found that the Joy-Con did not infringe on the company’s property and concluded the investigation last October. 

Gamevice originally obtained the patent at issue in 2015, titled “Combination Computing Device and Game Controller.” The patent describes a product that combines a computing device and a game controller, which Gamevice said was similar to Nintendo’s popular hybrid gaming system. Though both products sound similar, there are some important distinctions between the two. As Mashable pointed out, Gamevice controllers have a “flexible bridge” requiring the controllers to be used on a tablet to function. In contrast, Joy-Con controllers are functional without connecting directly to the Switch.