Hillcrest Labs sues Nintendo over Wii controller patents

Hillcrest claims the console's "Wiimote" violates four of its patents.

This post was updated at 4:20 p.m. PT with Nintendo's response.

The Nintendo Wii is the subject of yet another patent dispute.

On Wednesday, Maryland-based Hillcrest Labs announced that it has filed a complaint for patent infringement with the U.S. International Trade Commission, as well as a separate patent infringement suit in a U.S. District Court in Maryland regarding Nintendo's video game console.

Hillcrest The Loop
Hillcrest Labs says the technology behind the Wii remote is too similar to its own The Loop remote. Hillcrest Labs

Hillcrest is asking the ITC to stop the import of Wii consoles into the U.S., and is requesting that the U.S. District Court award unspecified monetary damages.

Hillcrest, which makes and licenses interactive media systems to consumer electronics companies, says it owns three patents related to "a handheld three-dimensional pointing device," and another on a "navigation interface display system that graphically organizes content for display on a television."

The company makes a motion-sensitive remote called The Loop , which Hillcrest says is protected by the patents at issue.

"While Hillcrest Labs has a great deal of respect for Nintendo and the Wii, Hillcrest Labs believes that Nintendo is in clear violation of its patents and has taken this action to protect its intellectual property rights," Hillcrest Labs said in a statement released Wednesday.

Nintendo of America has yet to see any official filings, according to a company statement. "We have not been served with any lawsuit or other action by Hillcrest and therefore have no comment," said NOA spokesman Charlie Scibetta.

This isn't the first time it's been targeted by patent owners recently. In July, a federal court in Texas found three Nintendo controllers--but not the Wii remote--in violation of patents held by Texas-based Anascape. Nintendo has appealed the decision.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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