Plugged In

Nintendo sued over Wii hardware

Plugged In

2011 really hasn't been Nintendo's year.

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Wii Sensor (Nintendo)

The company's stock has plunged 40 percent. The 3DS fell on its face after its launch. And despite a price cut to $150 in May, the Wii is still dead in the water.

Now the company is adding new legal battles to that list of woes.

ThinkOptical, the maker of the Wavit remote, is suing Nintendo for patent infringement, saying it holds a patent (called 'Electronic equipment for handheld vision based absolute pointing system') that covers the technology powering the Wii's remote.

Additionally, the company argues, the Wii sensor bar and console itself violate patents held by ThinkOptical.

Nintendo did not reply to a request for comment on the suit. It is worth noting, though, that the patents appear to have been filed in July of 2005 -- just two months before Nintendo unveiled the finished Wii controller to the world.

The case was filed in the District Court of the Eastern District of Texas, which TechCrunch points out, tends to heavily favor patent holders. That means this could end up being a legitimate headache for the game giant.

The Wii case comes about a month-and-a-half after a former Sony employee sued Nintendo over the glasses-free 3D display on the 3DS, saying it violated a patent he filed in 2003 (and that was issued in 2008).

"Among other things, [Seijiro] Tomita invented and developed technology relating to displaying stereoscopic (3-D) images on-screen for viewing with the naked eye, i.e., without utilizing glasses or other devices," the lawsuit alleged.

The Wii has been the target of previous patent infringement suits. A few years ago, the company was almost forced to stop selling the Wii controller after losing such a case, though that decision was reversed on appeal. Even Wii Fit has been targeted.

As for ThinkOptical, it's asking for an injunction against the products in question (essentially all major Wii parts), as well as royalties, attorney's fees, and damages for lost profits.

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