Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo Sued Over Joystick Port Patent
In the latest lawsuit to be leveled against video game hardware manufacturers, Richardson, Texas based Fenner Investments has filed suit against Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo for infringing on the company's patent number 6,297,751 for a "low-voltage joystick port interface."
The patent, filed in 1998 and later awarded in 2001, is summarized: The joystick port interface according the present invention is a low power port which interfaces a typical 5 Volt joystick peripheral device with a lower power computer port. The low-voltage joystick port interface includes a bidirectional buffer circuit and a pulse generator which, together, generate a digital pulse signal, representing a joystick coordinate position, based on an input analog measurement signal.
The lawsuit from Fenner Investments was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, seeks damages and an injunction against Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo for each company's willful infringement of the patent.
While none of the three console manufacturers are strangers to being sued over their products, it is perhaps Sony, with its well documented court battle with Immersion Corporation over rumble technology that stands out as the most recent similar case as the one brought by this latest lawsuit. That suit by Immersion was also later extended to Microsoft, which was then settled in 2003, while Sony has continued its battle Immersion, with oral arguments having been heard in a DC appeals court just this week.