Former Sony Engineer Suing Nintendo Over 3DS Patent Infringement

Since its March, 2011 release, 3Ds has been met with general acclaim, technology-wise, but the lack of games contributed to a decidely lukewarm overall reception and since then, it hasn’t exactly been flying off the shelves. What Nintendo needs is a reason for people to buy it. Maybe some halfway decent games. Maybe an online presence that isn’t bunk. Or maybe the threat that it might soon no longer exist? Yeah, that’ll work.

[A] new lawsuit is accusing Nintendo of patent infringement, saying that the Mario house used that glasses-free 3D tech without proper licensing from the patent holder.

Tomita Technologies, founded by inventor Seijiro Tomita, filed the lawsuit on June 22, according to the complaint obtained by Gamasutra.

Zounds! Better run out and buy one before they’re given the Bratz treatment!

Tomita’s suit asks a court to determine ‘that both Nintendo LTD and Nintendo of America have infringed and continue to infringe on the patent, and to permanently enjoin the defendants from the alleged infringement.” The complaint also details how Mr. Tomita, a 20 year Sony veteran, has 70 patents to his name and is the holder or co-holder of more than a hundred more. And among the many inventions he is credited with helping develop? “Stereoscopic image picking up and display system based upon optical axes cross-point information.” Shorter that title: a glasses-free way to view 3D images. And Tomita holds the patent in the US and in Japan.

All well and good, but while Nintendo is not among the third parties who licensed Tomita’s technology, they’ll surely claim there’s a good reason for it: the fact their 3D screen is derived from a custom-made PICA200 processor created by Digital Media Professionals. That chip is of course under a different patent from Tomita’s 3D technology. It is unclear the extent of DMP’s relationship with Nintendo, but they do not appear to have a Keiretsu-style affiliation. That would appear to shield Nintendo from potential liability – the issue now being whether or not Digital Media Professionals engaged in patent infringement.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for any statements from Nintendo, or from DMP. In the meantime, we recommend the presiding judge only look at the complaint for 10 minutes at a time.

Via Gamasutra.

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