ITC to probe Wii patent violation claims
Nintendo facing possible US sales ban
A US manufacturer’s recent claim that four of its patents for on-screen navigation and control technology have been infringed by the Wii are to be formally investigated by a US trade body.
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to investigate Hillcrest Laboratories’ allegations – made in a recently filed lawsuit - that Nintendo has violated three patents Hillcrest owns relating to a “handheld three-dimensional pointing device” and a fourth for a “navigation interface display system that graphically organises content for display on television”.
The ITC said that the complaint alleges “violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930” and that it relates to “certain videogame machines and related three-dimensional pointing devices”.
Initially, the ITC's Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the ITC's five administrative law judges, who will hold an evidentiary hearing.
The selected judge will then make an initial decision over whether there is a violation of section 337, after which the ITC will make a final decision over the lawsuit’s merits.
Hillcrest’s hoping for an exclusion order and a cease and desist order, which if successful could see the Wii and/or the Remote and Nunchuck controllers banned from sale in the US and from being imported into the country.
Getting the ITC in on the act is a commonplace tactic used by US companies who allege that a foreign company has riden roughshod over their intellectual property rights. It's often seen as a quicker way of getting a result than waiting for the case to come to a conclusion in the courts.
Charlie Scibetta, a spokesman for Nintendo of America, has already claimed that none of the videogame pioneer's products infringe Hillcrest Laboratories’ patents. Nintendo plans to “vigorously defend” its position, he said
Let the fight begin...
US Trademark Regulations
... are not being followed very well. From http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/what.htm :
Interpretations of the statute by the courts have defined the limits of the field of subject matter which can be patented, thus it has been held that the laws of nature, physical phenomena and abstract ideas are not patentable subject matter.
A patent cannot be obtained upon a mere idea or suggestion. The patent is granted upon the new machine, manufacture, etc., as has been said, and not upon the idea or suggestion of the new machine. A complete description of the actual machine or other subject matter for which a patent is sought is required.
Reflections upon themselves
Yet people innovate all the time without patenting ideas... Seriously. Patents are not a good idea. The worst patents are software patents look them up... they Patent seriously obvious ideas. The same goes for business methods and such like.
As for copyright no it's not like a patent. A copyright would protect the blue prints but not the device itself. A patent protects how the device is made but not the blue prints so there you go.
Basically if I made a potato peeling device and patent something like:
a device to peel potatoes using a power source
It doesn't matter from what blue prints it would be made as the mere idea of a device to
peel potatoes would be patented. This is why patents are bad.
Patents are bad
PERIOD. THe only purpose of today's patents is let trolls STEAL money. Today Patent serve no usefull purpose. a patant (and (C) ) should not last more the 2 or 3 years. and no money of any kind should be awarded for a patent NOT IN USE (not manufacturing a product). Compnanies who sole purpose is to steal money (sue) for patend infregment should be made illegal, This is the only way to let company inovate. make a profit out of inventing, but also prevent them to steal money once the patents is no longer used by them.
Well first of all, I wouldn't share my brilliant idea with anyone without some form of Non-Disclosure Agreement signed beforehand. No need for a patent for that and I have grounds to sue if you steal my idea afterwards. There are other ways to protect an idea without having to resort to a patent, this would keep the patents "clean" and much simpler to enforce I think.
If only it were so easy.
Suppose you came up with a brilliant and original idea but it would cost £1m to build the prototype. You don't have the money and can't patent your idea without the prototype. So you ask me to help you because I do have the money but I take the prototype to the patent office and register it as my own idea and nothing to do with you. You have some nice drawings and a few pages of text from several years before but no prototype so the patent and any money to be made from the idea is all mine and you get nothing. Your "fix" completely negates what patents are for.
(no I don't have millions, it's just a hypothetical)