A Wii ‘problem’

Rockville, Maryland-based startup Hillcrest Labs has taken legal action against Nintendo for what it claims is an infringement of its patents.


Rockville, Maryland-based startup Hillcrest Labs has taken legal action against Japanese gaming behemoth Nintendo for what it claims is an infringement of its patents.


The patent infringement was filed with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, DC. A separate patent infringement suit was filed in the US District Court in Maryland against Nintendo specifically related to the Wii video game system.


Hillcrest’s patents at issue are US Patents 7,158,118, 7,262,760, and 7,414,611, which relate to a hand-held three-dimensional pointing device, and US Patent 7,139,983, which relates to a navigation interface display system that graphically organises content for display on a television.


Since 2001, Hillcrest Labs has been developing technology that allows consumers to interact with digital media on television using motion-control and pointing techniques. The company holds 29 worldwide patents in the area, and has filed for more than 100 related patents.


Hillcrest Labs believes Nintendo is in clear violation of its patents and says that it has taken the action to protect its intellectual property rights. In a statement, the company also said that other consumer electronics companies, not all of which have been disclosed publicly, had already licensed its technology for use in their products.


Founded in 2001, the Maryland company is funded by NEA, AllianceBernstein, Columbia Capital and Grotech Ventures.