Bear in mind the Nintendo Wii? Years in the past, just a few firms tried to say that they had patented the system’s progressive motion-sensing controller know-how earlier than Nintendo did and thus deserved a reduce of the huge earnings Nintendo derived from the platform. A type of firms, iLife, even managed to safe a $10.1 million judgement in opposition to Nintendo in 2017 after a jury discovered that the Wii (and Wii U) infringed on the Dallas-based firm’s 1999 patent for a body-mounted fall-detection system.
Now, over two years after that judgment, a Dallas federal court docket has overturned that financial award and invalidated iLife’s patent altogether.
iLife’s authentic patent describes a system that determines whether or not somebody is falling by “course of[ing] mentioned sensed dynamic and static accelerative phenomena as a perform of at the least one accelerative occasion attribute to thereby decide whether or not mentioned evaluated physique motion is inside environmental tolerance.” On the floor, that is considerably just like the accelerometer-based motion detection on the Wii Distant, even when the use case is solely completely different (and even when there isn’t any proof iLife really bought any gadget that carried out the patented concept).
In inspecting that patent, although, decide Barbara Glynn writes that iLife’s description of a system that merely “collect[s], course of[es], and transmit[s] info” was too summary to be patentable within the first place. “Merely storing, transmitting, retrieving, and writing information to implement an summary concept on a pc doesn’t remodel the character of the declare right into a patent-eligible utility,” Glynn writes, citing authorized precedent established in the previous few years.
To be patentable, Glynn writes, iLife’s concept would have had to offer some non-obvious “enchancment within the performance of sensors and processors… akin to accumulating beforehand unknown info or accumulating info extra precisely.” And Glynn discovered iLife did not current any particular claims to an “creative idea” or new use of the sensors in query.
Because the case was filed, iLife Applied sciences’ web site has been taken down, and founder Michael Lehrman has moved on to develop into president and CEO of Sleep Strategies Inc., a know-how firm centered on sleep problems. Lehrman was not instantly accessible to reply to a request for remark.
Although the remnants of iLife can attraction the choice, this judgment seemingly places to an finish a protracted authorized journey that started for Nintendo again in 2013. That saga consists of 5 different iLife patents that had been discovered to be invalid in 2016 as a part of the case.
“Nintendo has a protracted historical past of growing new and distinctive merchandise, and we’re happy that, after a few years of litigation, the court docket agreed with Nintendo,” Nintendo of America’s Deputy Common Counsel Ajay Singh mentioned in a press release. “We are going to proceed to vigorously defend our merchandise in opposition to firms searching for to revenue off of know-how they didn’t invent.”