Engineer's $30m windfall from Nintendo 3DS patent spat SLASHED by beak
Jury's payout branded 'excessive' because handheld is 'unprofitable'
A US judge has halved a $30.2m payout awarded to an inventor by a jury in a patent infringement trial involving Nintendo's 3DS console.
The panel of peers in New York handed ex-Sony engineer Seijiro Tomita the multimillion-dollar damages after finding that Ninty had infringed his patented 3D display technology - which allows players to see stereoscopic images without special glasses. Tomita sued the Japanese giant in 2011.
But Judge Jed Rakoff said on Wednesday that amount was "intrinsically excessive" and couldn't be supported by the evidence presented during the trial (a PDF of the original complaint is here). The beak said the handheld 3DS gadget wasn't profitable and the majority of games for the console weren't using 59-year-old Tomita's patented tech.
Tomita - who worked for Sony for 30 years until he left in 2002 to design his own stuff - must now decide by 23 August whether to accept an award of $15.1m or push for a new damages trial, the judge said.
Nintendo had argued for a new liability trial or an overturning of the jury's verdict, both of which Judge Rakoff denied. The entertainment giant said it was planned to take the decision to the court of appeals.
"Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of other companies and is confident that none of its products infringes the asserted patent," Charlie Scibetta, a spokesman for Nintendo, said in a statement to reporters.
Joe Diamante, Tomita's lawyer, said: "We are still reviewing the decision and have no comment." ®