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Nintendo Sued By Interactive Exercise Company
Nintendo Sued By Interactive Exercise Company
April 14, 2010 | By Kris Graft

April 14, 2010 | By Kris Graft
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A Potomac, Maryland-based company is the latest to file suit against Nintendo for patent infringement.

IA Labs, also known as Powergrid Fitness, sued Nintendo's Japan headquarters and Nintendo of America on April 2, according to a filing obtained by Gamasutra.

IA Labs is accusing Nintendo of infringing on two separate IA Labs patents through technology used in the Nintendo Wii, Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus, the Wii Balance Board, Wii Remote, Wii Wheel, Wii MotionPlus, Wii Nunchuck and Wii Zapper.

IA Labs said that it has been "irreparably harmed" by Nintendo's alleged "continued infringement."

The patents in question are "Computer interactive isometric exercise system and method for operatively interconnecting the exercise system to a computer system for use as a peripheral" and "Force measurement system for an isometric exercise device."

The claim said that IA Labs had been in contact with Nintendo during 2007-2008, discussing possible overlaps of IA Labs and Nintendo patents. Emails between IA Labs and Nintendo showed that IA Labs wanted to license its technology to Nintendo.

IA Labs was also in talks with Nintendo about a product called Sqweeze, a controller for Wii and PC that's meant to increase physical activity when gaming.

IA Labs is seeking a court declaration that Nintendo is infringing on the patents, and it's pursuing an injunction against the alleged infringements in addition to unspecified damages.

Interaction Labs' founders Greg Merril and Phil Feldman said that their patents were used in IA Labs' products Kilowatt Sport, the Exer-Station controller, Exer-Station Pro and the PowerSquad Leg Joystick, among others.

The Exer-Station controller, for example, connects to a video game system and provides resistance for a workout while playing any off-the-shelf video game. The Kilowatt Sport had the same full-body workout-plus-games concept. Both won awards at CES in two separate years.

Nintendo recently won an appeal in a suit that accused the game company of infringing on controller-related patents.


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Comments


Josh Green
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Glad to see patent trolls are keeping the lawyers employed.

E Zachary Knight
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I always thought it would be pretty nice to own a company that produced video game hardware. Then I learned about Patent trolls and gave up on the idea entirely.

Joe Rheaume
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There should be a statute of limitations on Patent suits. Sue Nintendo when they announce a new product if you think it violates your patents, but waiting until it's been in the market for years is just predatory trolling.

David Delanty
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Yeah, good luck to them on that. If they succeed all their winnings are going to be taken by Dance Dance Revolution's Konami for the exact same reason. To which, Nintendo will sue Konami for infringing upon their Power Pad technology. It's one big ugly legal circle.



Rest assured, that's highly unlikely as IA Labs' case is probably going to be thrown out. The combination of exercise and video gaming has been in existence for decades.

Joseph Vasquez II
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A sensor reports it's readings to a server via Bluetooth. How do you try and claim that you have a patent on that?



Also, it's funny that they included the Wii Wheel and Wii Zapper in the filing. Somebody should let them know that those are just plastic shells that enclose a Wii remote.

Aljoscha Börsch
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I am just going to get a patent on breathing, then everyone has to pay me money for doing it :)

Those patent trolls are annoying hope they have to pay their lawyers and loose this.

E Zachary Knight
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@Joseph,



I laughed at that as well. I guess they just did a quick inventory of all Nintendo brand Wii peripherals and included everything in the suit.

Tom Kammerer
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I worked for this great company and this is legit. No Patent Trolling whatsoever. IA-Labs issued the patents in 2000. Please do your research before declaring troll.



IA-Labs primary products were all created and established WELL before anyone thought of the Wii. Just look up the CES award for the Exerstation.



I believe the reason the lawsuit was delayed was in hopes of partnering their products for the benefit of a healthy youth. IA-Labs was one of the greenest and most noble companies I had the pleasure to work with. Everything they were attempting was for the greater good of the industry and I am sure Greg is upset it led to this but these are tough times.


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