Genuine Enabling Tech’s Lawsuit Alleging Patent Infringement by Nintendo Wii and Switch Products Dismissed

Genuine Enabling Tech LLC v. Nintendo Co.
Case No. 2:19-cv-00351
United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
Decided July 30, 2020

Genuine Enabling Tech LLC (“GET”) sued Nintendo, alleging that Nintendo’s Wii Remote and Wii Remote Plus, Wii Nunchuk, WiiU Game Pad, Switch Joy-Con Controllers, and Switch Pro Controllers infringe its U.S. Patent No. 6,219,730 (“the ’730 Patent”), which describes “a method and apparatus for producing a combined data stream and recovering therefrom the respective user input stream and at least one additional input signal.” The Court granted Nintendo’s motion for summary judgment.

The ’730 Patent describes “how a user-input device (UID) may communicate remotely with a computer so that different input signals are received and transmitted via the same link.” Typical UIDs, as identified in the patent, include a mouse, trackball, or keyboard.” GET claimed that the previously listed Nintendo Wii and Switch products infringe claims 10, 14-18, 21-23, and 25 of the ’730 Patent.

At issue was the term construction of “slow-varying” and “fast-varying” input signals. The ’730 Patent distinguished its claims from prior art, U.S. Patent No. 5,990,866 (“Yollin”) titled “Pointing Device With Integrated Physiological Response Detection Facilities,” by relying on the term “input signal” to “differentiate the “slow-varying” positional change, user selection, and physiological response information covered by Yollin from the “fast-varying” signals that would pose a collision problem if combined with the slow-varying signals.”

The Court found this “a clear expression” that the frequencies in the Yollin Patent “do not pose a collision problem when combined with slow-varying button data and are therefore distinct from “fast-varying” signals addressed by the ’730 Patent,” and therefore are a “clear and unmistakable disclaimer” of the ’730 Patent’s scope. Because the Court found that the ’730 Patent “expressly disavow[s] as “slow-varying” the range of frequencies addressed by Yollin,” it adopted Nintendo’s proposed claim construction of the ’730 Patent, construing “input signal” to refer to signals over 500 Hz, and excluding slow-varying information.

Based on this construction of “input signal,” the parties disputed whether signals from accelerometers in Nintendo’s products produce slow-varying signals. GET claimed that the signals are fast-varying and infringed the ’730 Patent, but Nintendo argued that the signals are slow-varying because: “(1) the controllers cannot be moved faster than computer mice; (2) the accused controllers produced the disavowed “positional change information,” and (3) the frequency of the signals produced by Nintendo’s controllers are within the range of “slow-varying” signals disavowed during patent prosecution.” The Court found that GET failed to present sufficient evidence to defeat Nintendo’s motion for summary judgment.

The Court concluded that “no reasonable jury could find that the signals produced from an accelerometer in the accused products contain frequencies above 500 Hz,” and granted Nintendo’s motion for summary judgment, finding that all the previously listed Nintendo products do not include the “input signal” claimed by the ’730 Patent.