Nintendo Switch Under Investigation For Possible Patent Infringement: Here’s What The Switch Allegedly Copied


Nintendo is coming under fire again over its Switch console. A hardware company called Gamevice has approached the U.S. International Trade Commission to complain against Nintendo's Joy-Con design, claiming the company infringes on its patents.

This is the same company that filed a lawsuit against Nintendo late last year over its Wikipad and line of detachable controllers for smartphones.

That lawsuit was eventually dropped, as Engadget reports. Clearly, though, Gamevice isn't done with Nintendo quite yet. This time, it's telling the USITC that Nintendo is violating the Tariff Act of 1930. It's also requesting a cease and desist order, a move that would prevent imports of the Switch into the United States.

Nintendo Under Investigation Over Patent Infringement

"The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain portable gaming console systems with attachable handheld controllers and components thereof that infringe patents asserted by the complainant," the announcement reads.

The USITC notes that while the investigation has started, it's yet to determine whether the complaint is valid. The commission plans to hold an evidentiary hearing to ascertain if Nintendo is indeed in violation of the Tariff Act. A decision will come "at the earliest practicable time." A target end date for the investigation will be announced within 45 days.

Will It Go Anywhere?

Nintendo has yet to formally address the impending investigation, but the idea of halting Switch imports in the country sounds a tad bit preposterous. The investigation will likely go nowhere, as was the case with the Gamevice's first lawsuit. Suppose it does lead to something more serious, a company as big as Nintendo will definitely call on its litigation team and fight back hard. Nintendo simply can't afford a situation like that — the Switch is far too successful right now, especially in the United States, to suffer that level of damage over legal reasons.

As pointed out in the original lawsuit, the Joy-Con and Gamevice's devices, while similar to a degree, still have a number of notable differences. For instance, the Joy-Con controllers remain operational even with detached from the Switch, has additional technology including rumble and infrared, and were exclusively designed to work with the Switch console. By contrast, Gamevice's detachable controllers are made to work with a variety of third-party tablets and phones, and they don't have sophisticated components the Joy-Con controllers have.

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