Nintendo Wii Infringes On Philips Patents, Rules UK Court

The Nintendo Wii was arguably one of the biggest winners of the last console generation, even if that success was somewhat short-lived. Now the company has taken another blow from United Kingdom courts, thanks to a ruling that the Wii infringes two Royal Philips patents for recognizing hand gestures and motion.

“We believe Nintendo infringed the patents and have tried to settle since 2011, but as that hasn’t worked out we had to take this step,” Philips spokesman Bjorn Teuwsen told Bloomberg. “This case relates to other cases in the U.S., Germany and France. It might help in those cases, but that’s not up to me but to the local authorities in those countries.”

The ruling was made by Judge Colin Birss, who found that Nintendo infringed upon two motion patents, but not a third for modeling bodies in virtual environments. “The 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,” he wrote to the UK High Court.

Birss is expected to present damages against Nintendo sometime next month. Whether this ruling will have any effect on American, German, or French cases isn’t clear, or whether it will pose challenges for Nintendo’s Wii U which contains similar technology. Regardless, Nintendo intends to appeal the decision.

“Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others,” the company said in a statement. “Nintendo is 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.”

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