Tiny game controller company wrests $21 M from giant Nintendo

In 2006, Texas game controller company Anascape filed patent infringement suits against both Nintendo and Microsoft. On Wednesday, Nintendo was ordered to pay $21 million to the company.

The company's complaint was that both Microsoft and Nintendo infringed upon some twelve patents for various game controller designs.

One such patent, filed in 2000, describes a "controller or converter structured for allowing hand inputs to be converted or translated into electrical outputs, the controller structured with a plate or platform movable relative to a base or housing about two mutually perpendicular axes generally parallel to the platform to effect a plurality of sensors for defining output signal(s) based on movement of the platform."

Another from 2001 describes a device "to aid in controlling three-dimensional objects and navigating a three-dimensional viewpoint shown by a display. An active tactile feedback vibrator is mounted as a component of the controller for providing vibration to be felt by a user."

Representatives from Nintendo said that the Wiimote and Nunchuck controller's motion-sensing technology were not found to be in violation of Anascape's patents.

Microsoft previously settled out-of-court with the group, but did not disclose the terms. Though Anascape is the holder of these patents, it appears to be capable of doing little else with them, unless it considers $21 million as seed money for a future venture.

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