Nintendo Seizes 10,000 Hong Kong Pirate Devices
The Hong Kong High Court has intervened, at Nintendo's request, to help stop a global distribution operation involving game copying devices and modification chips that violate the copyrights and trademarks of Nintendo DS and Wii.
On Oct. 8th, the court ordered the raid of Supreme Factory Limited facilities, through which Nintendo representatives seized more than 10,000 game copying devices and mod chips over the course of three days. The devices seized are used to copy and play Nintendo DS games offered unlawfully over the Internet, and the mod chips allow the play of pirated Wii discs or illegal copies of downloaded Nintendo games.
Documents recovered during the search also shed light on the scope of the operation, revealing that Supreme Factory Limited has ties to a French company, Divineo SARL, and its principal, Max Louarn, who are also named in the legal action initiated by Nintendo. The Hong Kong High Court prohibited the companies from further distribution of the devices and from disposing a portion of their assets worldwide, and ordered those assets frozen pending outcome of the legal proceedings.
The High Court previously awarded Nintendo more than $5 million in damages in 2005 against Lik Sang, a company found responsible for the widespread distribution of game copying devices. In another case, a U.S. judge ordered Bung Enterprises to pay Nintendo $7 million in damages in connection with its involvement in manufacturing and distribution of such products. Nintendo says it and the companies that create, license, market and sell its products lost an estimated $762 million in sales due to counterfeits in 2006.
Jodi Daugherty, Nintendo of America's senior director for anti-piracy, says, "Piracy affects the entire video game industry, from large companies to independent developers. It can destroy years of hard work by a team of very talented software developers, who strive to create games consumers enjoy playing. Copying the developers' work and spreading the game files globally is blatant stealing."