Nintendo gets the chance to Wii

Nintendo has won a US appeals court decision in a patent case that will allow it to keep importing its Wii system into the United States.

According to Game Industry,  the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. confirmed a January 2012 ruling by the US International Trade Commission will make it a lot harder for US companies to halt imports of products that allegedly infringe patents on grounds they want to establish a “domestic industry” for similar products.

Motiva was founded in 2003 by two men who sought to integrate fitness and video games through motion detection. But they could not commercialising any product.

In November 2006, Nintendo began selling the Wii, which features a motion-sensor controller that allows users to replicate movements like swinging a tennis racquet on screen.

Motiva’s lawyer Christopher Banys claimed that the release of the Wii crushed a startup in America and the ITC ought to be available to companies that are inventive institutions.

Motiva sued Nintendo in 2008 claiming that the Wii infringed two patents, 7,292,151 and 7,492,268, for a system to track a user’s position and body movement. But the ITC decided that Motiva’s litigation against Nintendo was to win damages or a settlement and not to license or make products incorporating Motiva’s patents. A three-judge Federal Circuit panel agreed.

It said that Motiva’s litigation did not amount to the “significant” or “substantial” investment toward commercialising patented technology that was required under a patent protection law, known as the Tariff Act that sets limits on imports.

Circuit Judge Sharon Prost wrote that Motiva’s litigation was targeted at financial gains, not at encouraging adoption of Motiva’s patented technology. She said that there was no likelihood that, after successful litigation against Nintendo, Motiva’s patented technology would have been licensed by partners who would have incorporated it.

Christopher Banys, a lawyer for Motiva, called Monday’s decision “unfortunate” but said the case will continue and Motiva will be vindicated when its case is tried in district court.