A complaint from Texas-based company Wall Wireless says that Nintendo, Sony and Nokia are infringing on a patent it acquired 2001 (in Taiwan) and 2003 (in the US).
The patent covers the “Method and Apparatus for Creating and Distributing Real-Time Interactive Media Content Through Wireless Communication Networks and the Internet”, and it seems Wall Wireless has taken issue with various online multiplayer games that provide certain types of real-time interconnectivity - such as Mario Kart, WipeOut Pulse and Reset Generation.
Since the patent covers not only the method but the technology, this is presumably the reason that the complaint has been raised against the hardware manufacturers rather than the software companies who made the offending games.
The infringements seem to apply to certain in-game features, mainly based around instant messaging and other real-time interactions between players, or “...methods and systems that allow an operator to distribute messages having aural or visual content that is generated by the operator using handheld apparatuses such as mobile telephones” as the patent document states.
Wall Wireless apparently supplied the hardware companies with a notice of the infringements last year, and as none have acquired any licenses for the technology, it’s now suing for damages, costs, expenses and legal fees.
No word from the defendants yet, but these companies are known for their legal zealousness and are unlikely to go down without a fight.Edge