August 4, 2006 - Earlier this week, Texas-based Anascape filed suit against Microsoft and Nintendo alleging that the companies infringed a number of controller-related technology patents. The suit seeks to recover damages, with interest, and that license fees be paid to Anascape should Microsoft and Nintendo not be ordered to cease use of the patented technologies.
The patents named in the suit appear related to game controllers, though their titles and descriptions are surprisingly vague. Patents named in the suit include "Variable-Conductance Sensor," "Game Controller with Analog Pressure Sensor(s)," "Remote Controller with Analog Button(s)," and "Variable-Conductance Sensor with Elastomeric Dome-Cap."
The oldest of the 12 patents cited was granted to Anascape in 1999, while the most recent -- "3D Controller with Vibration" -- was granted in 2005. Given the breadth of control mechanisms described in the patents, as well as the time period covered, it isn't clear just which of Microsoft's or Nintendo's technologies are at issue in the suit.
Neither Microsoft nor Nintendo returned requests for comment at the time of this writing.