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.