Intellectual Property Attorney

Jury Awards Inventor $30.2 Million In Patent Infringement Dispute With Nintendo

On Wednesday (March 13) a federal jury in the Southern District of New York awarded the owners of the intellectual property rights of inventor Seijiro Tomita, Tomita Technologies USA, LLC and Tomita Technologies International, Inc. (“Tomita”), $30.2 million in compensatory damages against famed video game developer Nintendo.

In 2011, Tomita filed a complaint alleging that the Nintendo 3DS portable game console infringed U.S. Patent No. 7,417,664 (‘664 patent’). Tomita’s ‘664 patent covers technology for displaying 3-D images without the need for 3-D glasses. According to media reports and court filings, in August 2003, Mr. Tomita met with Nintendo representatives and employees to present his technology. The 3DS debuted on the market in 2011, eight years after the meeting with Mr. Tomita, and Tomita filed the lawsuit.

In 2012, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff denied two motions for summary judgment brought by Nintendo. In relevant part, Judge Rakoff concluded that “a reasonably jury could find, based on clear and convincing evidence, that Nintendo’s defenses are so unpersuasive that ‘an objectively high likelihood’ of infringement in fact exists.” He also concluded that a “reasonable jury could conclude that the Nintendo employees who attended the demonstration could have inferred and did infer,…, that the patent that ultimately issued would closely track the application about which Mr. Tomita had informed them.” He noted that the “same employees who attended the demonstration helped to develop the 3DS, and a reasonable jury could find that they would have understood the similarities between the 3DS and the prototype Mr. Tomita had shown them.”

Notwithstanding the verdict, Nintendo continues to insist it did not infringe the ‘664 patent and the ‘664 patent does not relate to the games used on the Nintendo 3DS. Moreover, Nintendo reportedly believes the verdict will be “set aside.” We expect the matter will wind up on appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals regardless of any post-verdict motions. The case is
Tomita Technologies USA, LLC, et al v. Nintendo Co., et al, 11 Civ. 4256 (JSR) (S.D.N.Y.).

Grimes has successfully represented inventors in disputes against major developers and manufacturers. This case is a prime example of the necessity of inventors to protect and enforce their rights. This is true with respect to any intellectual property or proprietary rights of an inventor, but as this lawsuit demonstrates it is particularly important for inventors of emerging and cutting edge technologies to be proactive and vigilant.

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