Nintendo Slapped With Patent Infringement Lawsuit Over Detachable Switch Joy-Con Controllers

Nintendo's stature makes it a prime target for lawsuits, which it seems to attract with every new console launch, both handheld and in the traditional living room category. The company's Switch console is a little bit of both, though it too is attracting litigation. One of the first companies to target the Switch is Gamevice, an accessories maker that has accused Nintendo of patent infringement.

You have to be a paid member (starting at $59 per month) of RPX Insight to view the lawsuit Gamevice filed against Nintendo, but according to Engadget, the beef stems from an Android-based gaming tablet that Gamevice had conceived. Called the Wikipad, the accessories maker claims that Nintendo violated a patent for concepts used in the slate, and also alleges that Nintendo copied its add-on controller design.

Joy-Con Controller

One of the unique features of the Switch is its detachable Joy-Con controllers.  They slide onto both sides of the Switch so that players can use the device in handheld mode when on the go, and also detach to use while laid back on the couch with the Switch docked and in TV mode. Alternately, players can huddle around the Switch, which has a kickstand, and use the Joy-Con controllers.

Nintendo's design apparently runs too close to Gamevice's conception of a game controller and a device with a "flexible bridge section." As a result, Gamevice is seeking an unspecified amount of damages and also wants a ban on Switch consoles.

Image Source: Wikipad

This is an interesting lawsuit, as the Switch does somewhat resemble the Wikipad, both in form an function. The backstory here is that the Wikipad team had big plans for its handheld console back in 2012 and hyped up features such as glasses-free 3D and game streaming. It was not much of a hit, and Wikipad eventually moved on from the project to focus on add-ons for phones and tablets.