back to article ITC to probe Wii patent violation claims

A US manufacturer’s recent claim that four of its patents for on-screen navigation and control technology have been infringed by the Wii are to be formally investigated by a US trade body. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to investigate Hillcrest Laboratories’ allegations – made in a recently filed lawsuit …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    1989: Power Glove ( )

    Although that was really made by Mattel and not Nintendo, it should still provide plenty of evidence for prior art.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    They ain't taking my WII

    I need it for when my 360 and PS3 are broke.

  3. Jon Brunson

    Just Wii?

    Surely both the 360 and PS3 violate their very vague "navigation interface display system that graphically organises content for display on television" patent?

    Or is there no money in suing the Microsoft & Sony gaming divisions?

    Idea for new icon: we need a big question mark or a "WTF?" icon!

  4. yeah, right.


    Assuming "Hillcrest" = "Hillcrest Labs", then it looks like they actually manufacture something other than patent claims. So at least the company isn't your typical troll.

  5. Jim

    Wii remote is a Hack!

    It's not even a "Pointing Device". If it was, you could actually Aim the litte sucker.. It's all shooting from the hip with the remote. All it has is a camera to watch the IR on the "Sensor" bar, which is nothing more than an emitter. I'm wondering if they have sued Gyration. I'm sure they don't have a pattent on the mouse.

  6. JRallo

    "Hillcrest Laboratories has created the first pointer–based, interactive media system for TV. "

    What? They must not recall Web TV. If we go with interactive Media... Tivo? I guess the Tivo doesn't have the mouse pointer part. Now if we ignore everyone that's ever used a computer through their TV's (I have, long before HD came out) with a wireless mouse... Prior art is all there if you look hard enough. I guess I should hit up Hillcrest and ask for my royalty fees.

    The penguin because he likes his MythTV.

  7. A Smithe

    Really is it all the innovative?

    The spectrum had a light stick moons ago.

    I think patents are just a waste of time for this planet. If you have a great idea, then make it happen, patents are just getting abused left, right and center, primarily to hamper innovation. It is not that unlikely that two people have the same idea at about the same time, and a lot of stuff is just made relevant because the cost of production gets to reasonable level.

    Copyright is all we need. Patents are just a waste of space and only serve to make patent lawyers rich no one else. Patents were introduced at a time, when illiteracy was rampant, ideas are two a penny nowadays, it is more to do with efficiency of production and promotion.

  8. Joe K
    Thumb Down

    Destroy the US patent system

    Its obvious it should be scrapped completely now, they aren't worth the paper they're printed on. They'll just patent any damn thing, and sit on it till someone actually does all the work and creates their theoretical idea. Its anti-progress.

    I hope Ninty tells them to to fuck off, and pulls the Wii off US shelves to force someone somewhere to see sense.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @A Smithe

    Were it not for patents nobody would bother to innovate. Without patents there would be no money to be made from actually coming up with new ideas. Anyway what is a copyright of an idea other than a patent?

    Granted there is a problem with the patent system and it's one that won't disappear any time soon. The reason it won't disappear is that it makes money for patent lawyers. The problem is that patents are granted for applications which are far too vague and/or ambiguous. The system needs to be refined to ban patent filings which are not precise. The patent should precisely describe the product of the idea. If it does not the patent should be rejected. If this rule was already on the books a huge proportion of recent patent cases would never have made it to court.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    My Binatone games console from about 1980 had a light gun, that not only shot the target, but you could use to choose options.

    Does this count?

  11. Dapprman

    As 'God' once may have said .....

    If you want to take my Nintendo Wii Remote they can pry it from my cold dead hands.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Since I use my tv as a computer monitor it stands to reason that mice manufacturers should be sued as well, no? Or should they sue the OS makers? I'm confused...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to fix the patent system:

    Just give patents to things which actually exists! Not some weirdo theoretical idea.

    Got a working prototype? You're allowed to patent it.

    Have some nice drawings and a few pages of text? You ain't gettin' no patent.

    There, easy.

  14. Dave Murray


    If only it were so easy.

    Suppose you came up with a brilliant and original idea but it would cost £1m to build the prototype. You don't have the money and can't patent your idea without the prototype. So you ask me to help you because I do have the money but I take the prototype to the patent office and register it as my own idea and nothing to do with you. You have some nice drawings and a few pages of text from several years before but no prototype so the patent and any money to be made from the idea is all mine and you get nothing. Your "fix" completely negates what patents are for.

    (no I don't have millions, it's just a hypothetical)

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @ Dave

    Well first of all, I wouldn't share my brilliant idea with anyone without some form of Non-Disclosure Agreement signed beforehand. No need for a patent for that and I have grounds to sue if you steal my idea afterwards. There are other ways to protect an idea without having to resort to a patent, this would keep the patents "clean" and much simpler to enforce I think.

  16. Mectron

    Patents are bad

    PERIOD. THe only purpose of today's patents is let trolls STEAL money. Today Patent serve no usefull purpose. a patant (and (C) ) should not last more the 2 or 3 years. and no money of any kind should be awarded for a patent NOT IN USE (not manufacturing a product). Compnanies who sole purpose is to steal money (sue) for patend infregment should be made illegal, This is the only way to let company inovate. make a profit out of inventing, but also prevent them to steal money once the patents is no longer used by them.

  17. Andraž Levstik

    Reflections upon themselves

    Yet people innovate all the time without patenting ideas... Seriously. Patents are not a good idea. The worst patents are software patents look them up... they Patent seriously obvious ideas. The same goes for business methods and such like.

    As for copyright no it's not like a patent. A copyright would protect the blue prints but not the device itself. A patent protects how the device is made but not the blue prints so there you go.

    Basically if I made a potato peeling device and patent something like:

    a device to peel potatoes using a power source

    It doesn't matter from what blue prints it would be made as the mere idea of a device to

    peel potatoes would be patented. This is why patents are bad.

  18. D Lobb
    Black Helicopters

    US Trademark Regulations

    ... are not being followed very well. From :


    Interpretations of the statute by the courts have defined the limits of the field of subject matter which can be patented, thus it has been held that the laws of nature, physical phenomena and abstract ideas are not patentable subject matter.

    A patent cannot be obtained upon a mere idea or suggestion. The patent is granted upon the new machine, manufacture, etc., as has been said, and not upon the idea or suggestion of the new machine. A complete description of the actual machine or other subject matter for which a patent is sought is required.

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