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Nintendo must pay $30.2 million to inventor for infringing 3-D technology

Jury finds that gaming company infringed inventor’s patent with its 3DS handheld system

If the courtroom was a video game, Seijiro Tomita would’ve hit the jackpot. On Wednesday, a federal jury in New York ordered Nintendo Co. to pay Tomita $30.2 million for infringing on his 3-D technology patent with its 3DS handheld gaming system.

Tomita, who worked at Sony Corp. for nearly 30 years before leaving in 2002, developed technology that allows users to see 3-D images without wearing 3-D glasses. He shared this technology with Nintendo in a 2003 meeting, hoping to secure them as a licensee while he waited for his patent application to be processed. Four of the seven Nintendo officials present at that meeting went on to develop the 3DS, which came out in 2011. When it did, Tomita sued Nintendo for infringement.

Though Nintendo argued that the 3DS does not use key components of Tomita’s invention, the jury ultimately sided with Tomita.

Nintendo said it plans to appeal. “We believe we can win a ruling that our 3DS doesn’t infringe the patent,” Nintendo spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa told Bloomberg.


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