Philips has sicked its army of lawyers onto Nintendo in a suit which threatens to put a stop to sales of the console. We’d definitely notice if that happened.
Phillips has claimed patent infringement for motion control technology that “models a user’s body in a virtual environment by animating a virtual body to follow the physical movements of the user”. The patents in question are for the “Virtual Body Control Device” and “User Interface System Based on Pointing Device”.
Philips claims it made Nintendo aware of the patent infringements in December 2011, so it sounds as if the platform holder missed its chance to resolve the matter before it came to (legal) blows.
Patents are a bit more serious than trademarks and copyright, which companies regularly issue ineffectual wrist-slaps over just to preserve their own stakes. If they’re not thrown out quickly or resolved amicably, patent disputes have a tendency to be long, and very costly.
This isn’t Nintendo’s first go round with patent troubles by any means, and it has a spotty track record; although it’s won a couple of cases, it’s also lost at least one very expensive suit.
If Philips is successful, it’ll receive damages, enhancement value and interest, as well as an injunction against sales of the Wii U. We’d like to say that would be disastrous for Nintendo. But you know. It’s not a good time.
Full details of the suit are available on Scribd.