Hillcrest Labs Sues Nintendo to Keep the Wii Out of America

Now this is interesting. Hillcrest Labs is suing Nintendo, trying to create an import ban on the Wii. They claim that Nintendo is infringing on a number of their patents relating to the Wiimote and the on-screen menu system on the Wii. The whole thing doesn't make a lot of sense to us, as we were under the impression that both Nintendo and Hillcrest Labs licensed their tech from Gyration. We're looking into this now, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that an import ban on the Wii is pretty unlikely. Hit the jump for Hillcrest's full press release. Update: After the jump, a clarification on what Hillcrest is suing over from Gyration.

The Hillcrest patents referenced in the action against Nintendo are secondary patents relating to user interface details and compensation techniques, whereas Movea's Gyration patents are central to the usage model, i.e. using sensors to detect human motion and control graphics on a screen. Gyration was the pioneer in developing fundamental motion sensing technologies and IP, and was a core enabler to Nintendo and Hillcrest, both of whom had entered license arrangements with Gyration to enable their products.

PRESS RELEASE: Hillcrest Labs Issues Statement About Legal Action Against Nintendo and the Wii

August 20, 2008 – Rockville, MD – Hillcrest Labs issued an official statement about legal action that the company has taken today against Nintendo(R) for patent infringement. The statement is as follows:

Hillcrest Labs has filed a complaint for patent infringement with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, D.C., and a separate patent infringement suit in the U.S. District Court in Maryland against Nintendo(R) related to the Wii(TM) video game system.

Hillcrest's patents at issue are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,158,118, 7,262,760, and 7,414,611, which relate to a handheld three-dimensional pointing device, and U.S. Patent No. 7,139,983, which relates to a navigation interface display system that graphically organizes content for display on a television. Since 2001, Hillcrest Labs has pioneered technology that allows consumers to interact with digital media on television using motion-control and pointing techniques. The company holds 29 patents in this area worldwide, and has filled for more than 100 related patents.

Leading consumer electronics companies, not all of whom have been disclosed publicly, have already licensed Hillcrest's technology for use in their products. While Hillcrest Labs has a great deal of respect for Nintendo and the Wii, Hillcrest Labs believes that Nintendo is in clear violation of its patents and has taken this action to protect its intellectual property rights. Given the current status of the filings, the company will not disclose any additional details about the matter at this time.

Information about Hillcrest Labs and its products are available at www.hillcrestlabs.com