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Microsoft, Nintendo Successfully Defend Controller Patent Allegations

Microsoft and Nintendo received favorable rulings in a Washington court of appeal, confirming they did not violate a patent related to video game controller power conversions.
Microsoft and Nintendo have received favorable rulings in a Washington court of appeal, confirming that the companies did not violate a patent related to video game controller power conversions. The two console manufacturers were sued by patent holder Fenner Investments three years ago. Fenner claimed the companies' gaming devices unlawfully employed a patented design converting the signal from a 5-volt controller port to a lower voltage. Nintendo was granted a favorable ruling in the case last March, but Fenner appealed the decision. In a judgment this week (PDF link), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed that ruling. The court said there were "no genuine issues of material fact" in Fenners claims, and that "no reasonable jury could find that the accused devices of Microsoft and Nintendo" as infringing on Fenner's patent. The patent was filed in 1998 and granted in 2001. Fenner later obtained it from Lucent (now Alcatel-Lucent), holder of numerous patents that have been named in lawsuits against video game companies. In 2008, Microsoft won a patent case against Alcatel-Lucent surrounding a claim about video coding.

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