Sega is suing Professor Layton developer Level-5 over touch screen controls in the DS version of Inazuma Eleven, its popular football RPG series. Sega is calling for the halting of all sales of the game in Japan. Get the details below.
Yomiuri Online reports that the dispute stems from touch screen patents filed by Sega that lets players move on-screen characters using the Nintendo DS touch screen with your finger or a stylus pen. The company claim that Level-5 has infringed on those patents.
Initial hearings were heard on December 7th so the case has essentially begun. Sega is asking for ¥900 million / $11 million in damages over the infringement, however the case recalls Microsoft’s recent brush with Motorola.
The case saw a Californian judge deem Motorola’s online patents as essential to the acceptable standard of what consumers expect from modern game consoles, and therefore ruled that no one company can claim outright ownership.
Touch is essential to the way Nintendo DS functions, so it could end up that Sega’s suit is rejected. However, similar to the Motorola ruling – in which the company may have a window to pursue royalties for use of its tech – Sega may be able to seek royalties if its damage claim is rejected.
This is all theoretical for now of course, but what do you think? Is touch screen too essential to the Nintendo DS console that no one company can claim patent ownership?
We’ll have more as it happens.