Court Holds that Nintendo Did Not Infringe on Patent for Gaming Controller

In a July 30 order granting the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, Western District of Washington Judge Ricardo S. Martinez found that Nintendo Co., Ltd. and Nintendo of America Inc. (collectively Nintendo) did not infringe on plaintiff Genuine Enabling Technology, LLC (GET)’s patent. The 2017 disagreement stemmed from GET’s claim that five Nintendo controller devices infringed on GET’s U.S. Patent No. 6,219,730 (the ‘730 Patent).

Specifically, “[t]he patented technology involves how a user-input device (UID) may communicate remotely with a computer so that different input signals are received and transmitted via the same link.” Common types of UIDs, as stated in the ‘730 Patent, include  computer mice, trackballs, and keyboards.

The parties briefed the court on claim construction, patent infringement, and patent invalidity issues, then argued before it on February 24. At issue were terms in the ‘730 Patent and another, previously extant patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,990,866 (the Yollin Patent).

Judge Martinez noted that under claim construction analysis, “a court’s primary focus is on the intrinsic evidence of record, which consists of the claims, the specification, and the prosecution history.” Accordingly, the court reviewed the patents’ prosecution history and the parties’ expert testimony regarding the precise meaning and scope of “input signal,” as used in the patents.

In siding with Nintendo about the term’s meaning, the court held that the defendants’ definition was “well-supported by the prosecution history.” Because this finding was determinative on the issue of claim construction, the court declined to address the remaining disputed terms.

Turning to the issue of infringement, and using its definition of “input signal,” the court adjudged whether Nintendo’s remote controllers utilized technology that infringed on the ‘730 Patent. Weighing the arguments put forward by the parties and their experts, the court concluded, as a matter of fact, that none of Nintendo’s products infringed, citing GET’s failure to “satisfy its burden as the non-movant to defeat summary judgment of noninfringement.” Because of this finding, the matter of invalidity was rendered moot.

The plaintiff is represented by Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto and Womble Bond Dickinson, and the defendants by Perkins Coie and Shaw Keller.