Nintendo sued over glasses-free 3DS technology

Nintendo is being sued over the glasses-free 3D tech in its 3DS console. The 3DS allegedly infringes on a patent filed by an ex-Sony employee in 2003.

Nintendo is being sued for allegedly infringing on a patent relating to the glasses-free 3D tech employed in its 3DS handheld console.

The lawsuit was filed in a New York court by Tomita Technologies. The owner of the patent in question, and founder of Tomita Technologies, is one Seijiro Tomita, who worked for Sony for 30 years.

"Mr Tomita invented and developed technology relating to displaying stereoscopic (3D) images on-screen for viewing with the naked eye... without utilising glasses or other devices," the lawsuit claims.

The original patent, filed in 2003, pertains to "a stereoscopic video image display device for displaying different video images for the eyes of a viewer".

That certainly sounds rather like the 3DS, which uses parallax barrier technology . A thin sheet in front of the display is full of tiny slits that mean certain parts of the screen are hidden from one angle, but visible from another. With your two eyes placed at different angles to the screen, each peeper sees a slightly different picture. Nintendo's implementation is particularly impressive, although the spell is broken if you move your head, or the console, even slightly.

The lawsuit doesn't specify exactly how the 3DS infringes on the patent. Nintendo is no stranger to legal conflict either. Tech companies regularly sue the socks off each other , so it wouldn't surprise us if nothing much comes of this latest courtroom conflict.

Do you own a 3DS? How are you finding it? Does it give off infringe-y vibes when you look at it? Let us know in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.

About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.


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