A report by UK site The Inquirer has highlighted a complaint filed on July 31, 2006 by Texas-based firm Anascape Ltd against both Nintendo and Microsoft in a Texas district court for infringement on no less than twelve game hardware and controller-related patents. The complaint has called for a jury trial in order for the dispute to be settled.
Among those patents included in the company's complaint are patent numbers 5,999,084, labeled "Variable Conductance Sensor"; 6,102,802, labeled “Game controller with analog pressure sensor(s)”; 6,135,886, labeled “Variable Conductance Sensor with Elastomeric Dome Cap”; 6,208,271, labeled “Remote Controller with Analog Button”; 6,222,525, labeled “Image Controller with Sheet Connected Sensors”; and 6,343,991, labeled “Game Control with Analog Pressure Sensor”.
In addition, the complaint goes on to allege infringement by the two companies on additional patents, including 6,344,791, labeled “Variable Sensor with Tactile Feedback”; 6,347,997, labeled “Analog Controls Housed with Electronic Displays”; 6,351,205, labeled “Variable Conductance Sensor”; 6,400,303, labeled “Remote Controller with Analog Pressure Sensor”; 6,563,415, labeled “Analog Sensor with Snap Through Tactile Feedback”; and 6,906,700, labeled “3D Controller with Vibration”.
Each of the patents were filed by Brad Armstrong of Paradise, California between the years of 1996 and 2001, and were awarded to him at various dates between 1999 and 2005.
It's interesting that only Nintendo and Microsoft were targeted by this lawsuit, and not Sony, given that certain patents that were called out, especially those concerning analog control, would seem to impact all three console manufacturers.
However, Sony has had its own patent lawsuits to deal with in recent months and years, including the high-profile complaint filed by Immersion Corp concerning the company's use of force feedback technology in its controllers, as well as the recent lawsuit filed by Agere Systems for alleged infringement of eight semiconductor patents.