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An inventor and former Sony employee is accusing Nintendo of patent infringement, saying the company failed to license his glasses-free 3D stereoscopic tech for the Nintendo 3DS handheld.

Kris Graft, Contributor

July 7, 2011

1 Min Read

Ever since Nintendo officially unveiled the 3DS handheld in 2010, the two-screened device's main selling-point has been its top screen, which gives a 3D stereoscopic effect to emulate depth, without the need for 3D glasses. Now, a new lawsuit is accusing Nintendo of patent infringement, saying that the Mario house used that glasses-free 3D tech without proper licensing from the patent holder. Tomita Technologies, founded by inventor Seijiro Tomita, filed the lawsuit on June 22, according to the complaint obtained by Gamasutra. The suit said Tomita worked at Sony for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2002 to concentrate on inventing and developing different technologies. The "accomplished scientist and engineer" holds over 100 patent applications worldwide, and is inventor or co-inventor of nearly 70 patents, according to the suit. One of those inventions was for viewing 3D images with the naked eye, an invention that is filed under U.S. patent number 7,417,664: "Stereoscopic image picking up and display system based upon optical axes cross-point information." Tomita holds the same patent within the Japan Patent Office. Third parties have licensed the tech, but neither Kyoto-based Nintendo nor its U.S. branch Nintendo of America in Redmond, WA are qualified licensees, according to the complaint. The claim is asking a court to determine that both Nintendo LTD and Nintendo of America have infringed and continue to infringe on the patent, and to permanently enjoin the defendants from the alleged infringement. Tomita also is seeking damages caused by the alleged infringement, legal fees, and for the court to determine that the infringement was "deliberate and willful."

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About the Author(s)

Kris Graft


Kris Graft is publisher at Game Developer.

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