Nintendo's Patent Case: The Unanswered Questions

Earlier today, we learned that Nintendo had lost its bid for a new trial in the patent infringement suit brought against it by small Texas-based firm Anascape Ltd. Nintendo is ordered to pay $US 21 million to Anascape, who also named Microsoft and Sony in the same lawsuit — those two, however, opted earlier to settle out of court.

A ban on sales of all GameCube controllers - including GameCubes that come bundled with the infringing controllers — issued by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is currently on hold while Nintendo appeals the verdict on the Federal level.

If the appeal fails, what are Nintendo's options, and what's the gaming giant saying about the case?

Not much. Nintendo's official comment is pretty limited; "Nintendo was already planning to appeal this case to the Federal Circuit court,'' said spokesman Charlie Scibetta. "The recent ruling by the trial court does not impact that decision."

In the event that the appeal fails, Nintendo has the option of posting bond or paying royalties to be placed in escrow, but citing pending litigation, a rep refused to answer any further questions on what routes Nintendo might take beyond the comment already issued.

The Nintendo Wii remote was found not to violate the patent as long as it's being used without the Wii's Classic controller, and the Nunchuk is exempt, as well.

But who is Texas-based Anascape? Nobody much, apparently. They seem to lack an official website, and even a search reveals no such business listing in Tyler, Texas. It's an Ltd — Limited liability company — which means it could be simply an investment partnership and not a headquartered office at all.

According to Bloomberg, Anascape's attorney has said that the company wanted to enter the market, but that Nintendo "dogged the channel." When asked for comment, Nintendo also declined to respond to that allegation.


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