The latest lawsuit filed against Nintendo by Maryland-based InterAction Laboratories (a.k.a. IA Labs) is not the first or the last time a major video game console publisher faces charges of patent infringement. Given the settlement-happy nature of the industry and Nintendo's recent win on appeal in another infringement case, the tendency is to view lawsuits like these with skepticism.
This lawsuit, though, isn't so easy to roll your eyes at once you actually look at the exhibits presented in the complaint. In particular, check out these images from Exhibit 14 (see above).
If IA Labs developed this technology before the Balance Board and the Wii Wheel arrived on U.S. shelves in 2008 (and there's reason to believe that they could have -- IA Labs won Electronic Gaming Innovations of the Year awards at CES in 2005 and 2006 for their work on human-computer interaction technology), then this isn't some scheme cooked up by a greedy hardware company -- it's a legitimate complaint.
That's the angle IA Labs' legal representatives are taking, anyway. Speaking to GamePro, attorney Ray Mort of DiMuroGinsberg, P.C. explained why they know they've got a case.
"This isn't a troll company," he said. "These guys had some real products, real technology." The complaint says that the Balance Board irreparably damages IA Labs' chance to profit from the things it developed, and so under the law, it's not unreasonable to go after Nintendo in court.