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UK court rules Nintendo Wii infringed on Philips patent

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After riding high in the aftermath of an E3 press conference that the showed promise for its Wii U game console, Nintendo lost a long-standing battle in the UK's High Court on June 20 over the game maker's gesture and motion controls.

The patent infringement case was presented in court by Philips in 2012, though the company tried settling the matter with Nintendo in 2011. In the case of Koninkl Philips Electronics NV v. Nintendo of Europe GmbH, Philips asserted three of its patents were infringed upon by Nintendo.

While Nintendo's use of modeling bodies in a virtual environment was absolved from the lawsuit, High Court Judge Colin Birss determined that the game maker's hand gestures and motion-based peripherals infringed upon patents held by Phillips.

Koninkl Philips Electronics NV holds the patent for a "user interface system based on pointing device," which Nintendo infringed upon in Birss's assessment on the evidence. Nintendo offered no sound explanation on how it developed the Wii's gesture and motion controls, Birss wrote in his official determination.

"The common general knowledge did not include a device combining a physical motion sensor with a camera and the reasons advanced by Nintendo for putting those two sensors together in one unit are unconvincing," states Bliss in the decision.

Nintendo stated that it planned to appeal the decision on the two patents in question, pointing to a storied history of innovation and respect for the intellectual properties held by other companies.

"Nintendo is committed to ensuring that this judgment does not affect continued sales of its highly acclaimed line of video game hardware, software and accessories and will actively pursue all such legitimate steps as are necessary to avoid any interruptions to its business," stated Nintendo.

Though Nintedo stated its belief that the June 20 judgment against them won't negatively impact the company's sales, it has already had to cut it's forecast of Wii U units it expected to move during the second quarter of the 2014 fiscal year. For the first half of the 2014 fiscal year, the company cut it's forecast of Wii U sales by approximately 70 percent and has been expected to continue operating at a loss of $335.76 million.

While determining the winner of E3, the Electronics Entertainment Expo, is highly subjective, Nintendo's revival of its beloved franchises and its announcement of new titles gave many consumers the glimmer of hope they'd been eagerly awaiting from the company.

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