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Summary:

Hillcrest Labs, a Rockville, Mnd.-based startup, says it has filed complaints for patent infringement against Nintendo, related to the Wii video game system. The company claims that many consumer electronics companies (not disclosed publicly) have licensed Hillcrest’s technologies.

Hillcrest Labs, a Rockville, Mnd.-based startup, says it 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, related to the Wii 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 hand-held 3-D 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. (release)

NewTeeVee recently shot a demo video of the Hillcrest remote in action:

http://blip.tv/play/Ab7ffYX+KQ

Hillcrest is a venture-backed company and had raised $25 million earlier this year. It has raised a total of $50 million from NEA, Columbia Capital, Grotech Ventures, AllianceBernstein and other undisclosed investors. The company claims that many consumer electronics companies (not disclosed publicly) have 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. (release)

Legal docs embedded below the fold.

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/wrapper.ashx?doc_id=1064297&swf_url=http%3A//content1.docstoc.com.s3.amazonaws.com/swf/1064297.swf&enableFullScreen=1
Nintendo Wii vs HillCrest – Get more Legal Forms

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/wrapper.ashx?doc_id=1064298&swf_url=http%3A//content1.docstoc.com.s3.amazonaws.com/swf/1064298.swf&showrelated=0&enableFullScreen=1
Nintendo vs HillCrest Labs – Get more Information Technology

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  1. This looks like a legit claim… this should be fun to watch over the coming months.

  2. I agree with Joe Harper — on the face of it, this appears legit. It also means you can’t exactly use the motion sensor in your iPhone to control AppleTV (or any TV interface) without Apple (or a 3rd party ISV) licensing Hillcrest’s IP.

  3. Check out the docs. those are pretty revealing. Just updated the post with those documents.

  4. HillCrest Labs Files Patent Suit Against Nintendo | Wii Blog: Nintendo Wii News and Views Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    [...] [gigaom.com] Posted By JohnnyV on 08/20/2008 3:04 [...]

  5. Cheryl Milone- Founder, Article One Partners Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    Costly litigation as is imminent in this case could be avoided with more thorough searches for prior art. As a leading nation in the global economy, we need access to better prior art so that the U.S. Patent Office can more accurately determine true innovation and industry can rely on the efficacy of granted patent rights.

    Perhaps by engaging the online global community we will be able to tap a collective knowledge base to uncover prior art not yet identified. This will avoid unnecessary patent litigation focused more on the inefficiencies of the patent system rather than on the correct allocation of industry resources on valuing true innovation. I am interested to hear more about this from other readers.

  6. Cheryl Milone- Founder, Article One Partners Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    Costly litigation as is imminent in this case could be avoided with more thorough searches for prior art. As a leading nation in the global economy, we need access to better prior art so that the U.S. Patent Office can more accurately determine true innovation and industry can rely on the efficacy of granted patent rights.

    Perhaps by engaging the online global community we will be able to tap a collective knowledge base to uncover prior art not yet identified. This will avoid unnecessary patent litigation focused more on the inefficiencies of the patent system rather than on the correct allocation of industry resources on valuing true innovation. I am interested to hear more about this from other readers.

  7. Cheryl Milone- Founder, Article One Partners Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    Costly litigation as is imminent in this case could be avoided with more thorough searches for prior art. As a leading nation in the global economy, we need access to better prior art so that the U.S. Patent Office can more accurately determine true innovation and industry can rely on the efficacy of granted patent rights.

    Perhaps by engaging the online global community we will be able to tap a collective knowledge base to uncover prior art not yet identified. This will avoid unnecessary patent litigation focused more on the inefficiencies of the patent system rather than on the correct allocation of industry resources on valuing true innovation. I am interested to hear more about this from other readers.

  8. Was reading the section 983 description in the first document, and just kept thinking – this is commonsense, how did they get a patent for a hierarchical categorization. Oh well. Maybe I should go get a patent on an org chart. First you zoom out from the CEO…..

  9. “this is commonsense, how did they get a patent for a hierarchical categorization”

    The USPTO is tripe. They are understaffed and have government employees that are merited based on their patent throughput. It’s much easier for them to accept patents than reject them. That requires more paperwork!

  10. Oh No! Don’t Spoil Our Fun! Wii Gets Slapped with Patent Infringement | Sipy Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    [...] GigaOM has more. [...]

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