Once again, Nintendo is in the news for a patent. This time however, instead of a new controller or NX news, it was for an old legal issue. RecogniCorp LLC, a patent assertion company, sued Nintendo in 2011 claiming it violated a Recogni controlled patent for storing facial sketch data when Nintendo created software for its Mii characters. Unless people’s faces really look like typeface emoticons and mathematical data, this makes very little sense. And apparently, it did for the judges too.
RecogniCorp claimed Nintendo’s Mii character creation tool infringed on a patent it had for “a method and apparatus for encoding/decoding image data.” The patent originally was intended for police sketch artists to produce composite images using pre-existing images of faces as a way to reduce bandwidth and memory requirements for computer systems storing and transmitting photos of people. But a Seattle federal court judge ruled that the patent improperly attempted to monopolize mathematical operations. As a result, he didn’t even need to address Nintendo’s arguments in the case.
As a response to their win against RecogniCorp LLC, Nintendo paraphrased the presiding Judge Jones in a PR email:
“Judge Jones held that the patent was an improper attempt to monopolize mathematical operations, which cannot be patented. The Judge therefore did not need to rule directly on Nintendo’s non-infringement arguments. “We are very pleased with Judge Jones’ decision, which finally put an end to RecogniCorp’s attempt to cover inventions to which it has no rights,” said Ajay Singh, Nintendo of America’s Director of Litigation and Compliance. “Nintendo will continue to protect its products and innovations against accusations of patent infringement.”
RecogniCorp LLC didn’t have a problem with just Nintendo: it’s fought some battles with companies like Vistaprint, Oakley Capital Private Equity, and Data Design Interactive. With their track record, perhaps they should think ahead before jumping onto the false claim band wagon. So now there are four patent suit victories for Nintendo this year! However, it is uncertain if RecongiCorp will try for an appeal.