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Nintendo Found Guilty of Patent Infringement, Owes Inventor $30.2 Million

by Ron Duwell | March 14, 2013March 14, 2013 3:00 pm PDT

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The ex-Sony inventor who filed suit against Nintendo for allegedly using his patent for the non-glasses 3D technology found in the Nintendo 3DS has emerged successful from his trial. Nintendo now owes him $30.2 million.

A federal jury ruled in favor of Seijiro Tomita of Tomita Technologies, stating that Nintendo infringed upon a prototype he presented to them when Nintendo was shopping around for inventors to work on the 3D imagining in 2003. Tomita received the patent for his technology in both America and Japan in 2008.

Nintendo has replied to Polygon, stating:

Nintendo is confident that the result will be set aside. The jury’s verdict will not impact Nintendo’s continued sales in the United States of its highly acclaimed line of video game hardware, software and accessories, including the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others.

It’s hard to see either side’s case. Just how specific was the patent, which is described as “technology relating to displaying stereoscopic images on-screen for viewing with the naked eye, i.e., without utilizing glasses or other devices?” With wording like that, this man could be owed money by any company who uses non-glasses 3D technology. Or, did Nintendo’s lawyer just drop the ball? It would seem hard to grant any man money simply based on such general wording.

I wonder who he will target next. My Sharp phone uses non-glasses 3D technology, and it was Sharp who also developed the 3D imaging technology for the Nintendo 3DS. I’d watch out if I were them, although I somehow doubt he would get the same results in his home country.

Reuters Polygon

Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...

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