|The Technology of the Balance Board was weighed.|
Nintendo has been in several patent disputes of late. With at least one, they were found to be on the wrong side of the law. This time, it seems the patent trolls got a taste of their own medicine.
In 2010, a patent troll called IA Labs filed suit with Nintendo claiming that the Wii Fit Balance Board was in violation of at least two patents held by the company. The patents mostly had to do with the pressure sensors used to measure weight and balance in the accessory. In March of 2012, the case was thrown out and an appeal also failed.
After the failures in court, IA Labs was ordered to pay Nintendo’s legal fees for the litigation. IA Labs failed to pay and a sheriff’s sale was held to liquidate the company to pay its debts. Nintendo showed up to the sale to clean house.
Ironically, Nintendo acquired the entire catalog of IA Labs’ patents, essentially gutting the company. Nintendo released a statement to detail the situation. Part of it can be read below.
IA Labs appealed the trial court’s ruling. The appeals court confirmed Nintendo’s win in June 2013. IA Labs was further ordered to pay Nintendo additional costs incurred in defending the appeal. IA Labs did not pay the amount due, so a sheriff’s sale was conducted to sell IA Labs’ remaining assets, including its patent portfolio. Nintendo obtained IA Labs’ entire patent portfolio at that sale as partial repayment for litigation costs.
“Nintendo’s track record demonstrates that we vigorously defend patent lawsuits, like the IA Labs lawsuit, when we believe we have not infringed another party’s patent. This includes holding those who sue Nintendo responsible for the costs and expenses incurred in patent litigation,” said Richard Medway, Nintendo of America’s vice president and deputy general counsel. “Nintendo has a long history of developing innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others.”