Perhaps mistaking WiiMotes for electric shavers, Philips has deployed their lawyers against Nintendo in an effort to halt sales of Wii and Wii U console in the United States. And naturally make some money in the process, of course.
Philips' suit, which you can examine on Scribd [via Game Informer] alleges that Nintendo's console infringes on patents for a "Virtual Body Control Device” and “User Interface System Based on Pointing Device" issued in 2011, taking aim at the WiiMote controller. It's unclear why the original Wii wasn't involved in a similar case, but regardless, Philips asserts that they've locked down the technology required to model "a user’s body in a virtual environment by animating a virtual body to follow the physical movements of the user.”
"Upon information and belief, the infringing HCI products of Nintendo include but are not limited to HCI gaming systems and HCI pointing devices such as the Wii video gamingsystems and related software and accessories including, for example, the Wii console, WiiRemote Plus Controller, Wii Remote Controller, Wii U console, Wii U GamePad, and Wii Mini.47," reads the allegations.
"Upon information and belief, the infringement by Nintendo has been deliberate and willful."
The brief states that Nintendo received notice of the patents back in 2011 but took no action. As such, Philips are seeking damages, significant remimbursement and an injunction against US sales of the console. Us Europeans won't be affected, but Nintendo Of America are likely weighing up their options quite carefully. We'd expect some sort of settlement rather than letting the matter enter messy court proceedings - since their track record in open court is rather dubious and cost them in the region of $30 million last year.
Whether a case of patent trolling or a legitimate grievance, it's a headache that Nintendo really doesn't need right now, considering that the Wii U is still struggling to shift units and they'd rather be concentrating on Mario Kart 8. We'd rather concentrate on Mario Kart 8 too, since by all accounts it's utterly stupendous.
In fact, perhaps they could settle the matter over a friendly race on Rainbow Road?