Nintendo Dolphin renamed Cube

Lawsuits from Apple, Cobalt coming too?

Nintendo's next-generation console, due to be launched tomorrow, will be called the Cube, according to console gaming Web site IGN.

And if IGN's research is right, it could put the Japanese console vendor in serious legal trouble, fighting off a trade dress suit from Apple and a trademark suit from Cobalt Systems.

Nintendo's console is currently best known by its codename, Dolphin. IGN did a search for Nintendo's domain name properties and found a stack of nintendocube.com-style addresses.

A canny move on IGN's part - the same tactic allowed The Reg to scoop the world's media on the name of Apple's consumer-oriented notebook, the iBook.

IGN also notes that Japanese games company Dentsu recently formed a division to write software for the new console. The name of the subsidiary: NDCube.

That leaves it cut and dried, IGN reckons. The Japanese vendor's console will be called the Nintendo Game Cube or, more likely, the Nintendo Cube.

Sounds plausible to us, and we hope IGN's right if only for the opportunity for lawsuit malarkey it creates.

The Nintendo Cube is a PowerPC-based games machine - so too (for all the lack of top-level titles) is Apple's Power Mac Cube. Apple's litigious nature when it comes to protecting its look and feel - hardware as well as software - is well known, and if Nintendo comes up with a cube-shaped console in slick white styling expect trouble.

And don't forget Apple is itself on the verge of being sued, this time over the use of the name 'Cube'. Server appliance developer Cobalt is the potential litigant. Some time ago, it bought the rights to a computer called the Cube to protect its own Qube trademark. The Qube is a cubic Net server for small offices. Cobalt's most recent statement on the matter, released earlier this month, notes it is still looking into suing Apple over the name of the Mac maker's new computer. Cobalt might easily decide to take on Nintendo if it feels it has a case against Apple.

Of course, the console's name remains speculation - albeit informed speculation. Certainly Apple and Cobalt's lawyers won't be put on standby until tomorrow's Dolphin launch takes place. Nintendo may yet come out with something completely different. That said, it certainly needs a name and look that will stand its console apart from the black slab that is the PlayStation 2, and what could be better than a white cube?

We shall see... ®

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Related Link

IGN's N-Cube story

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