While everybody thought that Nintendo‘s glasses-free 3D technology was new and innovative, it seems the Japanese company was not the first to discover the solution. A federal US jury has found that the handheld’s 3D display technology infringes on an existing patent, awarding the original inventor more than US$30 million in compensatory damages.
Seijiro Tomita – a former Sony Corp employee – developed the technology, which permits 3D images without the need for 3D glasses. His patent was originally filed in 2003, and granted in 2008.
According to Reuters, the case has been before the court for more than 12 months, with Tomita first suing Nintendo and its US unit in 2011 over patent infringement. This followed a 2003 meeting between Tomita and the hardware company, where Nintendo discussed buying the 3D display technology.
Defense attorney Scott Lindvall argues that the 3DS does not use “key aspects” of Tomita’s original patent.
However, the jury and the court saw otherwise, with Tomita’s attorney Joe Diamante releasing a statement via email:
We are thankful to the jurors for their diligence and hard work. It has been a honor to represent Mr. Tomita and to protect his invention.
Nintendo officials – and Mr Lindvall – declined to comment following the verdict.