Intellectual Property Analysis of Tomita Technologies’ U.S. Patent No. 7,417,664
On June 22, 2011, Tomita Technologies (hereafter “Tomita”) filed suit against Nintendo over their newest handheld system, the Nintendo 3DS, claiming infringement on Tomita’s U.S. Patent No. 7,417,664 (hereafter ‘664). The ‘664 patent, owned by Seijiro Tomita and filed in 2003, describes autostereoscopy, a technology that allows a user to see a video in three-dimensions without the use of special equipment such as eye glasses. Tomito wants to be compensated for all damages and legal fees. Currently the 3DS, which debuted in the U.S. on March 27 of this year, sells for around $250 and has sold 3.61 million units world-wide as of the end of March.
Very little information can be found on Tomita Technologies or its inventor Seijiro. According to the suit documents Seijiro worked at Sony for 30 years and left in 2002 to pursue his own research interests. He is currently listed as the inventor or co-inventor of almost 70 patents worldwide yet we could find nothing that he has produced for the market.
As of this report, Nintendo has not commented on the lawsuit. However, this is not the first time Nintendo has been sued over its technologies, and the company tends to vigorously defend against assertions. In 2006, Nintendo was sued in the Eastern District of Texas by Anascape, Ltd. over various Nintendo game controllers. The jury ruled in favor of Anascape, granting it $21 million in damages and banning future sale of the controllers. Nintendo appealed the decision, and in 2010 the US Court of Appeals overturned the District Court’s determination, reversing the damage award and declaring Anascape’s patent invalid.
Staying true to classic Nintendo form, Tomita, like Donkey Kong, desires something Mario has, in this case money rather than the girl. Unfortunately, the challenger fails to consider Mario’s resolve, no matter how many barrels are thrown in his path. And, although Donkey Kong appears indestructible, Mario is usually the victor.
Using the M·CAM DOORS™ analytic platform, an intellectual property analysis of Tomita's ‘664 patent was conducted in order to understand its strength and defensibility in the face of prior and concurrent art innovation. While Tomita’s ‘664 patent has only one piece of cited prior art, M·CAM’s intellectual property analysis has identified numerous examples of prior art that predate and describe technology similar to the ‘664 patent. These patents, as well as other properties identified in this report, may potentially limit the strength and defensibility of the ‘664 patent.ShareThis