Nintendo Switch Under Investigation Over Patent Violation By The International Trade Commission

Nintendo faces Switch patent infringement investigation in the US
Nintendo under investigation by USITC for possible patent infringement

04 May, 2018

The ITC wants to examine "certain portable gaming console systems with attachable handheld controllers and components thereof" produced by Nintendo. That was back in August, and the firm eventually dropped the case, but now it seems it's back at it again. While the Switch controllers attach only to the Switch console, the Gamevice patent has to do with controllers that attach to each side of its Wikipad gaming tablet and detachable controllers for third-party tablets.

In July past year, Gamevice also sued Nintendo and its subsidiary at the US District Court for the Central District of California, alleging patent infringement.

For instance, Nintendo's Joy-Cons still function when not attached to the console, house additional tech like HD rumble and an IR sensor, and are designed exclusively for the use with only the Nintendo Switch itself. However, their similarities have clearly led to a bit of a legal kerfuffle between Nintendo and Gamevice. Gamevice now believes Nintendo violated the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing and selling the Switch, and it's now asking the USITC to issue cease and desist orders, which could stop shipments of the console to the U.S.

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However, the USITC release notes that an investigation does not necessarily mean that the complaint itself has any merit or validity.

Nintendo declined to comment on the investigation. Gamevice's argument is that the Switch's design of two sides of a controller attaching to the Switch screen comes to close to their products that do the same for mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets (Android and iOS). The complainant requests that the USITC issue a limited exclusion order and cease and desist orders. The complaint will be assigned to a USITC administrative law judge who will hold an evidentiary hearing. We'll know at some point in the next 45 days when the commission expects to wrap up their investigation, at which time we can expect to hear their findings.

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