Will Nintendo Wii Controllers Be Banned in the US?

It is a distinct possibility that controllers for the popular Nintendo Wii will be banned for sale in the United States due to a patent dispute. Nintendo lost their attempt to have a $21 million patent-infringement verdict overturned. This dispute also includes some GameCube controllers as well.

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It seems that patents for the design of certain components used in the Wii Controllers is held by a company that goes by the name Anascape Ltd. that is located in Tyler, Texas. Little is known about this company aside from it having a good law firm on retainer. They even got Microsoft to settle out of court on a suit against the XBox 360. Nintendo decided to take it to court and they lost. The newer Wii Controllers, like the remote and the Nunchuck, do not violate the patent.

I’m kind of torn on this issue. First, if the inventor who initiated the suit, Brad Armstrong, has a valid claim then he should be entitled to proper compensation for his invention. However, I don’t like law firms profiting heavily from this kind of action nor to I like to see valued products removed from the market or never brought to market due to this legal chilling effect. (Not to mention the effect it will have on break rooms at Google!)

What does me to you and I, the consumer? Well, I would suggest snapping up these soon to be banned Wii Controllers now because they will be removed from retailer shelves soon and perhaps even from eBay if they’re asked to enforce the patent-infringement ban.


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Comment by Luxury Paris Hotels
2008-07-23 20:23:33

Excellent headline - that made me click thru “Nintendo Wii will be banned” would be very big news indeed! In fact if the idiot lawyers think that Nintendo Wii will be banned that is pretty bad for the US consumer I am actually thinking about getting a WII Fit - fortunately I dont live in the US so even if the powers that ensure that Nintendo Wii will be banned it wont affect me

Comment by jfc
2008-07-23 23:08:02

Hi Lissie,

Akismet is still out to get you. :(

If the inventor, Brad Armstrong, actually had his controller design stolen by Nintendo then he would have a strong case. But I suspect it’s a lot more fuzzy than that. The jurors’ eyes probably glazed over a lot in the court room with all the technical cross examination and saw it as the little guy vs. the big corporation. So the jury voted his way more on that basis than the actual facts. The Nintendo lawyers probably should have used the Chewbacca Defense

2008-07-28 02:37:07

[…] I was reading the feed from my friend Frank’s blog the other day and came across a post asking “will the wii controller be banned in the U.S.?” […]

2008-07-31 23:32:26

Wish I had one of those disputed Wii controllers to SELL on eBay right now!

Comment by Michael
2008-08-02 14:49:59

That would be very tragic if they had to ban the wii controllers. I would be pissed myself since I currently only have 2 and I wanted to get some more. I guess I will have to go out and buy some more in case they decide to stop carrying them.

Comment by Adidas Soccer Balls
2008-08-02 23:05:56

Like you, I’m very torn about this one. On the one hand, it’s important that people who own intellectual property like the Wii controller get compensated if somebody else uses that property.

But on the other hand, we’re all familiar with these really ridiculous claims about intellectual property — that such and such a company owns the concept of “deep linking”, or that an other company invented the idea of “shopping carts” and therefore should be paid every time a shopping cart is used, regardless of whether the same technology is driving that shopping cart.

2008-11-05 01:51:26

Bah. I’m sick and tired of hearing about lawsuits. Everybody seems to be suing everybody else nowadays. Granted, these guys have a much more valid argument than most when they take others to court.

Comment by Travel Over 30s
2009-01-23 07:52:39

I guess this got resolved as there seems to be plenty of Nintendo Wii controllers for sale on eBay. Orannge Nintendo Wii conrollers, white Nintendo Wii controllers - lots and lots of Nintendo Wii controllers

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