Well, it looks like Nintendo is in the hot seat again. Peripheral company Gamevice has filed a lawsuit against Nintendo regarding their latest console, Switch, violates patent laws. They claim that the Switch is a copy of their gaming unit, “Wikipad 7.” Gamevice says that the Switch joy-con controllers and console are the same as their handheld device. Reuters reported on Tuesday that the company filed suit against Nintendo with the U.S. International Trade Commission. ITC has begun an investigation into the matter, citing “certain portable gaming console systems with attachable handheld controllers and components,” in other words, Nintendo.
The Wikipad 7 was released in 2013, fours years prior to the Switch. This new lawsuit stems from a similar lawsuit Gamevice filed previously against the gaming giant in August 2017. It alleges that Nintendo was aware of the patent for their affixed controller device and went ahead and released the Switch in March 2017. They withdrew their complaint two months later.
Now, looking at the Switch and Gamevice side by side, there are similarities between the two. Both have removable controllers that affix to the sides of a screen. However, the Gamevice works with any smart device such as iPhones, iPads, tablets and Android devices. Nintendo Switch will only with the console itself and the game released for it. The Switch can also be used as a standard game console connected to a large screen display. The Wikipad 7 has no such feature. Ironically, the Wikipad 7 is nearly identical in size with the Wii U Gamepad although the Wii U Gamepad is lighter.
In their complaint filed on May 2, Gamevice stated that, “Defendants [Nintendo] direct and instruct customers to assemble and use the components [the Joy-Con controllers] in an infringing manner,” Gamevice said in its complaint. “Defendants are aware that, absent infringement, the bundled Switch system will not have a substantial use because the Joy-Con Controllers need to be assembled in the infringing manner to recharge.” Gamevice is asking the ITC to order Nintendo to stop imports of the Switch coming into the U.S., citing the alleged patent violations.
If the lawsuit against Nintendo follows through, it would be a devastating blow to the company. Hopefully, that does not come to pass.
“The Know” hosts Mica Burton and Brian Gaar give more insight about the situation.