Has Nintendo stolen the 3DS’ technology?

3Dthief

Nintendo’s been embroiled in a legal case with a patent holder of the glasses-free 3D technology used in its stereoscopic handheld, the 3DS. While these cases are usually frivolous examples of money-grabbing by patent squatters, it seems there could be merit here – and Nintendo may have stolen the tech used to beam 3D images in to your eyeballs.

A New York federal jury has ruled that Nintendo has infringed upon patents owned by inventor Seijiro Tomita. Tomita, interestingly a former Sony employee met with Nintendo in 2003 to sell his 3D technology. His pitch went nowhere, but just a few years later, in 2011, Nintendo released the 3DS – employing very similar tech; optical axes cross-point information.

They’ve awarded Tomita with a $30.2 million damages settlement; money that Nintendo can ill afford right now.

Nintendo, for their part, seems to have largely shrugged it off, saying that their tech isn’t exactly the same – and that they plan to appeal.

A jury awarded $30.2 million in damages to Tomita Technologies in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Tomita against Nintendo. The Tomita patent did not relate to the 3D games playable on the Nintendo 3DS. The trial was held in U.S. District Court in New York before Judge Jed Rakoff.

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.

Nintendo’s usually credited with innovating technologies that other people end up copying, but it looks like this time, the roles may have been reversed.

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Author:Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.
  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    “A jury awarded $30.2 million in damages to Tomita Technologies in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Tomita against Nintendo.”
    :o

  • Deon Steyn

    Dammit Geoffry the header hurts my eyes. Shouldn’t have stared at it so long.

  • Sir Captain Rincethis

    I swear I haven’t even had a Bells and yet my brain feels sore after that header. I wonder if it is actually a case of Nintendo pioneering all this awesome tech, or whether they are just very good at disappearing the people who have, minus ONE 0_O

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    Man, that’s kinda crappy news

  • Major Commodore 64 Darryn B

    It’s a sailboat!

    • Deon Steyn

      Crap I looked again. My eyes!

    • ElNicko

      its a Schooner !!

  • Admiral Chief Erwin

    Header is in focus for me? Wtf…

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  • mornelithe

    “Nintendo’s usually credited with innovating technologies that other people end up copying, but it looks like this time, the roles may have been reversed.”

    No company is innocent, and most of what Nintendo has done is basically take pre-existing technology and improved upon it/molded it to their purpose, just like most of the companies accused of ‘copying’ off Nintendo do the exact same thing.

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