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Court dismisses lawsuit against Nintendo after patents invalidated

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A U.S. District Court in Texas granted a joint motion to dismiss Wall Wireless' patent lawsuit against Nintendo after the patents in question were were dismissed by the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office. 

U.S. patent 6,640,086, "Method and apparatus for creating and distributing real-time interactive media content through wireless communication networks and the internet," was filed Sept. 25, 2001. Attributed to inventor Corbett Wall of Taipei, Taiwan, it covered using "an apparatus like a cellular telephone to create a message by singing into the apparatus or by pressing buttons on the apparatus as he listens to background music presented by the apparatus."

Wall Wireless filed suit Feb. 13, 2009 alleging that Nintendo "has been and now is directly infringing and/or inducting infringement by others, and/or contributing to the infringement by others" on at least two of the patent's claims and covering "among other things" Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS Lite, and an unnamed Mario Kart title. Sony and Nokia were also named in the lawsuit.   

U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love signed the order granting a motion "seeking the dismissal of Wall’s claims of infringement" on May 16, 2014, a day after Nintendo and Wall filed a joint motion to dismiss, with prejudice, Wall's claims of infringement. Both documents followed a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reexamination of the patent, which concluded by invalidating all claims (PDF link) examined. 

According to Nintendo, the dismissal follows a decision by the Japanese Patent Office, which also found that Nintendo did not infringe upon Wall Wireless' Japanese patents. 

"We are very pleased to see the U.S. case dismissed, and also to have the Japanese Patent Office confirm that Nintendo does not infringe Wall’s Japanese patents,” Richard Medway, Nintendo of America’s vice president and deputy general counsel, said in a press release. “Nintendo vigorously defends patent lawsuits and other proceedings when we believe we have not infringed another party’s patents. It does not matter where such cases are filed or if it takes more than five years to vindicate our position. Nintendo continues to develop unique and innovative products while respecting the intellectual property rights of others.”

Today's news is the latest development in a series of ongoing and settled patent infringement lawsuits. Late last year, a U.S. District Judge set a royalty percentage that Nintendo will have to pay for infringing on patented technology used in the Nintendo 3DS' camera. The company won a case in February 2014 claiming that the 3DS and DSi infringed upon patents. Earlier this month, a Dutch company filed suit alleging that the Wii and Wii U motion controls infringed upon its patents. In May 2013, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. ruled that Nintendo did not infringe upon motion patents held by Motiva LLC.