Now that the Nintendo Switch is a success, you can bet that the lawsuits will roll in. It happened with the Wii and the Nintendo 3DS, so naturally, the Switch will fall prey to litigation in some form or fashion.
The company is called Gamevice, and it claims that the Switch copies its design for a device it called the Wikipad. Much like the Switch, it features a handheld screen with controllers that you attach to the sides. Here is a picture of the Wikipad.
Gamevice started work on a gaming tablet with removable controllers back in 2012, back when it declared it wanted to make a tablet with glasses-free 3D gameplay, something the Nintendo 3DS had been doing for a year or two by then. However, the device underwent a lot of changes in development and eventually came out looking similar to the Switch. An Android-based tablet could slip into a shell with controllers on the side and be used similarly to the Switch.
Gamevice is looking for money to make up for lost damages and the removal of the Nintendo Switch.
Hard to say, really. Nintendo obviously has had the idea for the Switch in mind for a very long time, as evidenced by the existence of the Wii U. Nintendo took a lot of inspiration from that console with the core design of the Switch, and it started designing the Wii U as early as 2012. That’s about the same time Gamevice started developing the Wikipad, but with 3D in mind rather than the device it would ultimately become.
The Wikipad also had no intention on being played on a television, which the Switch does have, and where as the Wikipad is a controller shell that you can slip a tablet into, the Switch is a tablet with controllers that attach onto the side.
But again, who knows? The technicalities of patent and trademark law are way too convoluted and technical to draw any early conclusions. This is just something we’ll have to wait and watch as time goes by.