Back in June, I wrote an article detailing how MFi controller manufacturer Gamevice had partnered with Capcom to release a special bundle with the latest Street Fighter IV: Champion Edition [$4.99] game. During my requisite research for the post, and looking at the numerous devices the company had on offer, I thought to myself 'heh, this Gamevice controller looks an awful lot like my beloved Nintendo Switch'. A little over a month later, it turns out Gamevice think such comparisons are more than simply superficial, as the company has filed a complaint for patent infringement against the Japanese gaming giant. According to Engadget, the basis for Gamevice's lawsuit against Nintendo focuses on alleged violations of patents in their eponymous mobile controllers for mobile and tablet devices, as well as in their Wikipad Android slate. If Gamevice are successful with their lawsuit, it could lead to a complete ban on Switch sales, which would certainly not help the much maligned stock shortages for the console over the past few months.


(Source: Afterpad)

This lawsuit from Gamevice comes as a shock, and it's unlikely that the accessory maker would take such drastic public action if they weren't confident in some sort of result. However, while it's easy to make an emotional judgement, this is ultimately a patent infringement case at its heart. According to our resident TouchArcade Legal Consultant Eric Ford, such cases surrounding patents can become incredibly intricate, convoluted and technical, and if Gamevice get their wish for the case to be seen by a jury, the outcome of the trial could be difficult to predict. I'm by no means an expert of the legal technicalities of patent disputes, but I strongly doubt Switch production will be forced to halt anytime soon - this is certainly not the first time Nintendo has been sued in this regard. However, seeing such a claim come from a relatively prominent company in the iOS gaming scene is surprising, and it will be interesting to see how critics and consumers alike react to what could be a landmark development in the mobile gaming industry.

[via Engadget]

  • theforkfactor

    Screw Gamevice. Long live the Switch.

  • Adam

    Gamevice has zero chance.

    • boydstr

      I am not so sure that Gamevice has no chance it is common practice to have consult lawyers that are specialized in such copyright infringements maybe people remember the Sony case in which Sony used the rumble shock feature in their controllers for the first time and was later sued because a very smal circular peace of metal that was on top of the rumble shock motor was protected by copyright but at that time Sony sold millions of PS2s in the end the plaintiff won the case and Sony needed to pay a LOT of cash to the copyright holders but a lot of these cases are settled outside of court.

      • http://wizodd.tumblr.com Wizard of Odyssey

        No chance. Gamevice doesn't even make the tablets that go between the snap-on controllers. Those bottom feeders deserve to lose big.

      • boydstr

        We shall see how this will work out.

      • muttso1o

        It is about the controllers, not the tablet.

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/rrvirus redribbon

    tbh, i dont see any similarity to switch. the only thing that share the same concept is the modular joystick.

  • Lickzy

    A great reason to boycott Gamevice.

    • Milotorou

      Agreed.

    • Sky Shatter

      totally agree, long live nintendo

  • wingzero0

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Gamevice has absolutely ZERO chance of stopping Nintendo from selling the Nintendo Switch.

    You need only look at the design parents themselves and the actual products. Gamevice adds controllers to 3rd party tablets/phones. The Switch and it's Joycons are a singular product that can simply be used separately.

  • David Cupples

    Lol. Stop switch sales. 🙄

    All this means is Gamevice gonna get paid. And that's all they're after too. Easy money. I love my Gamevice but this is just about some quick cash.

    • Glen

      It's not so easy as you think. Gamevice, a wet behind the ears controller company, or Nintendo, a video game giant that has been making games longer than Sony or Microsoft could comprehend (around 1986 or so). My money is on Nintendo

      • IainsTheName

        Technically Nintendo has been making games a lot longer than that, but I guess if you're talking video games then yeah.

  • klink

    That's perfect legal analysis by Eric Ford saying maybe they have a legitimate claim.

    • boydstr

      I see a lot of posts that people felt personal attacked this has nothing to do to stop the Switch or a quick buck but has to do that company that made the Gamevice thinks that Nintendo infringed their copyrights that's something that happens in business.

      • Yavga

        Modular tablets existed BEFORE Gamevice

      • Dema9o9ue

        Frivolous patent suits also exist in business. In fact far more than legitimate patent suits. There is a lot of money to be made in settlements.

  • http://adamsimmersive.com Adams Immersive

    I'm sure it will be settled one way or another. The Switch will remain, and I'm sure Gamevice's desired outcome is not killing the Switch. Whether their claim has merit worthy of payment, I cannot say! Sounds dubious. But the legal process must be followed until/unless there's a settlement.

  • sweiss

    Yup

  • Luci0

    Gamevice is lame. Nintendo is awesome, switch is killing it. Hope they get booted out of court.

  • http://wizodd.tumblr.com Wizard of Odyssey

    "Landmark development," ha ha, that's funny.

    Gamevice gets no commercial boost if Nintendo stops Switch sales, as a consumer backlash/boycott is way more likely.

    Gamevice, in patent troll fashion, is seeking settlement money from Nintendo, who has much deeper pockets. Touch Arcade is feeding the troll by publicizing this.

    • http://www.twitter.com/robfunnell3 Rob Funnell

      Landmark development was a sort of snide remark at mainstream sites/'hardcore' gamers that will rarely look at mobile gaming until a case like this. The body of the article explains the whole patent situation.

      • http://wizodd.tumblr.com Wizard of Odyssey

        You might want to avoid that kind of "sort of snide remark" in your otherwise earnest and serious writing -- it reads as a lazy cliche to this longtime supporter.

        I read the complaint, and in my opinion, they haven't a prayer. This will probably be the last we hear of it as it is dismissed or quietly settled.

      • http://www.twitter.com/robfunnell3 Rob Funnell

        Thanks for the stylistic advice; I'll be sure to take it on board.

      • http://wizodd.tumblr.com Wizard of Odyssey

        We're watching you.

  • http://wizodd.tumblr.com Wizard of Odyssey

    And how far the startup-funded GameVice really wants to go. So long as we're speculating, let's blame it all on the former CEO of Kabam, who recently joined the board. There's some mobile gaming news for ya, Rob Funnell!

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Ok.

  • Stan de Boer

    And how far the startup-funded GameVice really wants to go. So long as we're speculating, let's blame it all on the former CEO of Kabam, who recently joined the board. There's some mobile gaming news for ya, Rob Funnell!

    • http://wizodd.tumblr.com Wizard of Odyssey

      LOL those are familiar words.

      GameVice just got $12.5M in venture funding. Nintendo is a multi-billion dollar company.

      Gamevice makes snap-on controllers for other people's hardware. Their stuff becomes obsolete the minute Apple makes a different form factor device.

      Nintendo is an industry leader in electronic gaming, they designed their hardware to all work together. Gamevice's ill-fated Wikipad, which the patent referenced, has more in common with the Wii U than the Switch. It's cute that this suit didn't come up back then.

      Nintendo has a legal team that is likely better resourced than the entire Gamevice company.

      Gamevice have exactly the same chances in court against Nintendo as do the people who make the little silicon iPhone cases that look like old Gameboys.

  • The14th

    This better not be some bullshit broad patent for "controllers that sit on the side of a tablet or smartphone".

  • ste86uk

    To me that's like whoever made the first controller for a console saying wait nobody else can make a controller we made it first. I know there are patents but still there has to be limits to it.

  • Sky Shatter

    time to unleash the nintendo ninjas

  • Rizanul Fikri

    lol they copied wiiu game pad design and put xbox button on it

  • korossyl

    Thanks for the insights and analysis, TA!

  • Jimmy Li

    god save the nintendo switch (the nintendo switch anthem i made)
    from god save the queen
    God save our gracious Switch!

    Long live our noble switch!

    God save the Queen!

    Send it victorious,

    Happy and glorious,

    Long to reign over the gaming industry,

    God save the Switch.

  • rayray307

    Gamevice must be ready to close shop, why attack a beloved game giant like Nintendo and not have people pissed off at your company. In the long run most gamers are gonna be like "hey isn't that the company that sued Nintendo and made me wait even longer to get a switch, F*** those guys." No more sales for gamevice, which ironically the company name represent exactly what's going on to Nintendo. Fun fact gamevice is considered to be spelled incorrectly while Nintendo makes me capitalize the N through autocorrect on iOS.

  • Tyler Haney

    This sounds more like they're trying to advertise their accessory more than actually get money out of Nintendo and take the Switch off the market.

  • RodrigoCard

    They just want a quick buck. At last my money they won't have anymore

  • repapermunky

    I don't care much to comment on the reasoning behind all this, as I don't know the truth behind it all; how could I? But I certainly do hope I can get my hands on Switch if something bad does happen.

  • Glen

    Gamevice deserves to go bankrupt.

  • Zethell

    Boycott Gamevice.

    • boydstr

      Sorry but I don't see any logical reason whatsoever to boycott Gamevice mabey I am overlooking something?

  • Peter

    If anything this only makes me not want to buy their Products at all now. In fact it makes me despise Gamevice.

    I'm sick and tired of these petty Patent Trolls always looking for a way to make easy money.

  • Pedro Nuno

    These lawsuits are so stupid. When they loose, the judge should make them pay the amount of money they ask times x 100.
    Maybe that way, trolls would think twice before doing something like this again.

  • Powermad80

    I clicked on this article because I naively thought that the article body would answer the question in the headline. I still know nothing about whether or not Gamevice has any case.

  • Kakarotto

    I'm sure hoping Nintendo will prevent this from going to court, because if it does... then let's say that Gamevice's chances of winning are 50 percent at best. And that's saying a lot, considering that winning *inside* court is a much bigger gamble than *outside* court.

  • Russell Smith

    The Wikipad was dropped in 2015. If it weren't for the attempt to stop the Switch sales, I'd say it's merely taking a whack at the Nintendo pinata.
    However, with the attempt at bringing a ban that leaves me with several options. My first question is this: why did it take Gamevice 5 MONTHS after the Switch's launch to cause this uproar, when the Switch's public profile came to fruition at least 3 month's BEFORE its release? In this case the money argument does apply, but I think that Gamevice has an axe to grind. I also am of a mind that Gamevice are looking for publicity, and being the "boys who took down Godzilla-tendo" or whatever may have a ring to it.
    Secondly, what other reasons are there to call for the outright ban of the Switch? Apart from the other arguments, what would they hope to achieve? That is what I don't get.